David L. Swantek passed away at his home in Cheyenne, WY on July 31, 2023, surrounded by family.
Dave was born November 16, 1946, in Genoa, Nebraska where he grew up on his parents’ farm. He attended country school until the 6th grade and graduated from Genoa High School in 1965. Growing up he loved to hunt and trap, especially with his younger brother Pat. He spent summers in high school detasseling corn and even supervised his own crews. He played football, basketball, ran track, and played the cornet in the marching band. Dave was the middle child of seven children, with three brothers and three sisters.
Dave was the first in his family to attend college where he focused his studies on geography and history. He graduated from Peru State College in Peru, Nebraska with a Bachelor of Arts in Education in 1969. He earned a Master of Arts Degree in Education from the University of Nebraska in 1974, and in 1976 he completed a Specialization in Educational Administration and Supervision. His enthusiasm for education led him to dedicate his professional life to serving students in Nebraska and Wyoming schools for 35 years.
Dave took his first teaching job in Bradshaw, Nebraska in 1969 where he drove a route and activities bus to athletic events and sponsored the pep club. Four years later, he was asked to be the principal and then the superintendent. During that time, Dave and his wife Jerri (Elm) welcomed two children, David and Jenifer.
He went on to serve as the superintendent and elementary principal in Franklin, Nebraska from 1978-1983. He and his family moved to Wyoming in 1983 where he served as superintendent of schools in Guernsey and Glenrock.
In 1994, Dave married Conilee (Wilhelm) Archie at a country church in Esterbrook, Wyoming, and her two children Amber and Tyson joined his family. They built a beautiful home outside Guernsey State Park where they resided for many years and welcomed family and friends to enjoy it often.
He finished his career as the executive director of the Northeast Wyoming Board of Cooperative Educational Services in Gillette, Wyoming. He retired in 2005.
Dave dedicated his retirement years to things he loved including landscaping, gardening, writing, and spending time with his family and friends. In 2022, he published a book Journey: A Story of Our Family Origins about the history of his family who immigrated to Nebraska from Poland, a culmination of historical and family research and a beautiful tribute and legacy for his family.
Nature was the predominant theme in his life philosophy. He loved hunting and trapping, boating and canoeing, camping, fishing, hiking, landscaping, gardening, and taking scenic drives in his Jeep. His talents and meaningful things in his life seem reflective of his mother Helen who was an artist and homemaker and his father Emil who was a farmer. He loved working with his hands, and he had a deep appreciation for natural beauty, art, poetry, and Native American artifacts; many of which he and his father collected on their farm. He loved music and was particularly fond of polkas. On many Saturdays in the fall, you would hear him shout “Go Big Red” and “Let’s Go Cowboys.”
He shared many of his passions with his ten grandchildren, and this brought him great joy. They know him as Dziadek, grandfather in Polish. He was their biggest fan and enjoyed cheering them on in their various activities and life events. Dziadek taught several of his grandkids how to drive a stick shift in his Jeep, and he took all of them for rides on his beloved John Deere tractors. From him, they learned how to roast the perfect marshmallow over an open fire, churn homemade ice cream, and pop the perfect batch of popcorn. In sharing his passions and having worked alongside him in the garden for many summers and falls, several of them now have their own love for gardening. He never took the easy route and taught his children and grandchildren to work hard and enjoy life. He instilled in them that you may as well do it right the first time.
A few of his favorite places were the banks of the Looking Glass Creek, the Beaver Creek, and the Loup River near where he grew up; Harlan County, Guernsey, and Glendo Reservoirs and Guernsey State Park where he spent much of his work life. In retirement, he greatly enjoyed traveling to South Padre Island where he and Conilee spent time with new and old friends, walking on the beach, and tasting local cuisine.
He wanted his loved ones to know that he loved, cared for, marveled at, and found happiness in family, friends, and the natural world.
We leave you with his favorite quote, “Some men see things as they are and ask why. I dream things that never were and say why not.” - RFK
Interment will be at the cemetery in Wheatland, Wyoming. Memorials may be sent to the Sunrise Historic and Prehistoric Preservation Society at 5196 Road 72, Torrington, WY 82240 or the Nature Conservancy in Wyoming at 258 Main Street, Lander, WY 82520.
Wife – Conilee Swantek
Children - David Swantek (Michele), Jenifer Marley (Chad), Amber Zowada (Brian), Tyson Archie (Marissa)
Grandchildren - Logan Marley (Taylor), Calvin Marley, Skyler Marley, Taylor Swantek, Kendal Swantek, Molly Swantek, Kaenen Zowada, Beckett Zowada, Barrett Archie, Breccan Archie
Brothers and Sisters – Phil Swantek (Sandra), Carol Labenz, Betty Frazier, Pat Swantek (Tammy), Corinne Andreasen (Bob)
Many nieces and nephews
Preceded in Death:
Parents - Helen and Emil Swantek
Brother – John Swantek
Brothers-in-Law – Tony Labenz, Al Frazier