Louis Stephen Swenson(1931 - 2019)

Louis Stephen Swenson, 87, passed away February 5, 2019 in Grand Junction, Colorado.

He was born October 20, 1931, in Denver, Colorado, to Louis and Clarice Swenson. He was raised in Denver before moving to Rangely, Colorado, as a teenager. An athletic young man, he was the quarterback for the football team, a basketball player and championship boxer. He briefly attended Colorado State College of Education in Greeley before choosing to serve his country and join the Marines.

Louis had a commendable career in the military that took him to numerous locations around the world including Germany, Alaska, and Hawaii. He served a year in Korea where he earned a battlefield commission and traveled with the Marines rifle team. He then made the decision to transfer to the Army. A member of the Army Special Forces, he made hundreds of jumps as a paratrooper. He served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and retired a lieutenant colonel.

While attending the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and earning a B.S in Sociology at St. Benedict's College in Atchison, Lou developed a hobby in photography that would become his passion.

Lou became an acclaimed award-winning photographer. His second career began in San Antonio where he honed his skills in studio photography. Feeling the need to be back home in Colorado, he moved to Dolores, Colorado, and opened a gallery. His prolific photographic career spanned over half a century and included many subjects such as American Indian portraits, the civil rights era, social commentary, western landscapes, nudes, Vietnam and nature compositions. His works were displayed in many western galleries including Colorado and California, and sold to admirers worldwide. He was a mentor to many artists. He leaves a rich photographic legacy.

Louis is survived by a daughter, Kim (Douglas) Pennington of Marietta, Georgia, from his first wife, Kay; two children, Eric Swenson of Los Angeles, California, and Susan Swenson of Dolores, Colorado, from his second wife, Thu Van; two grandchildren, Devin Thomas of Hayward, California, and Anna (Robert) Ray of Marietta, Georgia; two great-grandchildren, Emilia and Matthew Ray; a brother, Dennis (Connie) Swenson of Littleton, Colorado, and Karen (Jim) Layman of Broomfield, Colorado; and eight nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Lisa Thomas, and his parents.

A memorial gathering will be held in his beloved mountains this summer.

Donations in Louis' honor can be made online to St. Labre Indian School, the Semper Fi Fund or .
Published in The Journal on Feb. 22, 2019