Zack Swanson Memorial Scholarship

In Memory of Zachary Scott Swanson

April 7, 1984 - February 10, 2024

Zack Swanson photo

At 39, our beloved Zack left us far too early. He was born in Niwot, Colorado, and spent his school days at Niwot public schools, graduating in 2002. He received an Associate Degree in Automotive Technology from Front Range Community College in Fort Collin in 2012. He added many automotive technology certificates and achieved Master Mechanic status. 

Zack had an amazing ability to stay levelheaded, even-keeled, calm throughout life. Always friendly and respectful, he took care to protect friends and family. He could share great conversations as well as vulnerable moments. He exuded compassionate warmth. He was the center of his families and a true and loyal friend.

The Irish poet Patrick Kavanaugh said to fully know even one field is a lifetime’s experience. Zack fully knew cars. He loved them all, from his very first Mitsubishi Montero, aka the Red Raider, to his Toyota Tundra. He loved being with people who knew their way around cars. His first purchase was a rusted-out Toyota SR5 which he drove around Fort Collins delivering pizza for many years. He rehabilitated cars no one else wanted. His last project car was a rare four-wheel-drive Toyota Corolla. He took great pride in getting Elmer, his dad’s old Ford pick-up, road worthy. He was the lead technician at Genuine Automotive in Fort Collins for many years. Zack is loved and dearly missed in the auto repair community where he was a dedicated mentor and teacher to mechanics just learning the trade.

Another passion was fishing. Early on, he cast a line from his Zebco plastic fishing pole into Brainard Lake, Left Hand Creek, irrigation ditches, anywhere there was water and maybe trout. Family camping trips to the Snowy Range in Wyoming brought bigger trout and more equipment. He perfected his fly-fishing technique on the Laramie and the Poudre Rivers with his dad. He loved tent camping, the more primitive, the better. His ventured to remote areas of Wyoming such as Meeteetse, Lost Cabin Camp Ground, and Green River Lakes on yearly man-trips.

Zack is survived and loved his parents Chris and Jan Swanson of Niwot, Colorado; his brother Will of Fort Collins and sister Kate (Ryan MacDougall), nephew Robert and niece Abbey, of Broomfield, Colorado.

His surviving Swanson uncles, aunts, and cousins are John Swanson (Judy) of Rancho Mirage, California, cousins Matthew (Robbi) of Chestertown, Maryland, Courtney Eklund, of Kansas City, Missouri, and Gina (King) Farish, of Lisbon, Portugal; Mark Swanson (Donna), cousins Geoff Swanson (Jess) and Sarah Swanson all of Lincoln, Nebraska; Jim Swanson also of Lincoln.

His surviving Patterson uncles, aunts, and cousins are Jeff Patterson (Carol), cousin Tom of Lincoln, Nebraska; Tim Patterson (Kristine), cousins Stephanie Phillipson (Kristopher), Melissa (Steve Kenealy), Karly, all of Gretna, Nebraska; Kay Shields (Mark), cousins Patrick, Dayne, all of Omaha, Nebraska, and Brad of St. Paul, Minnesota; Jill Sutton (Eric) of Pagosa Springs, Colorado, cousins Leah (Brandon) of Pueblo, Colorado, and Sam (Hannah) of Castro Valley, California.

Zack as preceded in death by his grandparents: Vince and Mary Swanson of Fremont, Nebraska, and Ralph and Jessie Patterson of Bella Vista, Arkansas.

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