HULL – Rodney M. Swanson, 69, died Saturday, July 4, 2009, following a courageous year-long battle with leukemia.
Born in Escanaba, Mich., he was the son of the late Amber and Clarence Swanson of Skokie, Ill., and the husband of Patricia Sheridan Swanson. He was raised in Skokie. Ill., and was a graduate of Colorado State in Durango, with a degree in agri-business. His lifelong love affair with horses and hounds that began in his teens in the Chicago area became a long and distinguished career as a Professional Huntsman with organized foxhunting clubs in Texas, New Mexico, Illinois, South Carolina, and Georgia.
Prior to his retirement last year, Swanson served as Professional Huntsman for Shakerag Hounds for 20 years, overseeing all hunt and breeding activities for the club. He came to Shakerag from Charleston, S.C., where he served as Professional Huntsman for Middleton Place Hounds for 15 years.
For more than 10 years, he was Master of his own private pack of foxhounds, Grandfather Mountain Hounds, of Linville, N.C. Since 2007, he was also Master of his own private beagle pack, Nowhere Farm Foot Hounds, Hull.
Swanson was a member of the American Foxhound Association, the Master of Fox Hounds Association, and sat on the board of directors of the Madison County-Oglethorpe Animal Shelter. He was also a breeder of Belted Galloway Cattle and a member of the Belted Galloway Society, as well as the Georgia Cattlemen’s Association.
He was an avid bird-hunter, and since his retirement was actively involved in training birddogs. Swanson was a member of Quail Unlimited.
Along with his professional duties at both Shakerag and Middleton, “Mr. Rod” was devoted to educating and mentoring children and teens interested in riding and hunt-related activities, including junior and children’s hunt programs. For many years, he also served as horsemanship instructor at summer camp programs he developed in North Carolina and New Mexico.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, or the Madison County Food Bank.
Visiting hours were held at Little-Ward Funeral Home on Monday evening from 5-8 PM. Friends and family are invited to attend and participate in a celebration of Rod’s life on Tuesday, July 7, from 3 to 6 PM, at the Shakerag Hounds Clubhouse, 3898 Neese-Commerce Rd., Hull.
Little-Ward Funeral Home, Commerce is in charge of arrangements.