Funtime at Ruby’s

I just wanted to thank everyone who came out for the jam at Ruby’s on Saturday.  It was so great to see all ya’ll who made it out and to share some memories of Jerry Swafford and pick and eat together again.  It sounds like Jerry’s Memorial was an awesome event.  Mike Conroy mentioned that they did “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” and that there were hundreds of folks out to pay their respects.  Our heart is with Maryette and we hope to see her with her fiddle real soon.

It was great to see Chris Tambe, Arlene Wolf and Gary Moore all the way over from Salmon and Tim Whitney and his lovely wife Judy and daughter Kelsie from out Chinook way.  I was bummed that I went to bed to early to get to see our bluegrass kid, Elora.  Reports are that she is growing into a beautiful young woman (just like her Mama).

I was so distracted with bouncing around from jam to jam and all that forgot to take my camera out to snap any pictures.  Anyone that got some shots (Ben) or video, I hope you’ll share some with us here on the website.

Lost and Found:
Bruce Threlkeld left his Paige banjo capo behind.  If anyone found that, please let me know and I’ll pass your info on to Bruce.

If you haven’t yet, please register here on the website and join in the fun of sharing your bluegrass news and stories with all the MRBA members!

Jerry Swafford’s Obituary

Jerry Swafford passed quickly Wednesday night after work on Wednesday February 4, 2009 at his home in Hamilton Montana.  He hadn’t practiced his banjo, yet, but that was the next thing he would have done.


Jerry was brought into this world by his grandma, Marie in 1942 in Heyburn, Idaho. He was the second in a series of 5 boys born to his mother Lucille.  The Swafford family moved to Shelley Idaho where Jerry graduated from high school.  While in high school Jerry excelled as an athlete, was elected to Boys State, and began developing his spectacular musical talent.   After graduation from Shelley High School, Jerry struggled in search of his life goals.  He was fortunate to have experienced life to the fullest.  Jerry lived many different lives.  In his early years he was a cowboy, a trapper, a musician, a sheepherder, and a mountain man.  He was always a philosopher, a psychologist and an avid reader.     Jerry attended the University of Idaho and Idaho State University for several years searching for his career while spending his summers working for the U.S. Forest Service fighting forest fires.  Jerry worked on the first USFS Helitack crew for the USFS out of Cobalt, Idaho. 


Two wonderful events forged the remainder of Jerry’s life.  First, Jerry met his life mate and soul mate Maryett who became Maryett Swafford in 1968.  It was the beginning of a lifetime romance exemplified by their constant mutual love and respect.  They lived, loved and worked side by side for 40 years.  They were always a team.


The second event occurred when he realized his life calling in the chiropractic field.   Jerry and Maryett moved to Oregon in 1968 where Jerry began is professional education at Western States Chiropractic College.  Jerry graduated, summa cum laude, in 1975.  Jerry was educated and experienced in child birth and maternal care and experienced the joy of delivering his first child, Marcus, at his home in 1974.


 He began his extraordinary practice in Pocatello Idaho in 1976 by joining the Dr. Henry West, Jr. and Sr. each of who were renowned and distinguished in their field. In 1976 he delivered his second son, Matthew, at home and claimed “it was worth a year in church”.  In 1979 he became president of the Idaho Chiropractic Association.  

06_08 MRBA Hughes Creek Campout (35) by mtbluegrass.

Jerry playing banjo in a MRBA pickin' circle down the Bitterroot in Aug. 2006 with Maryett by his side


He spent the rest of his life in the valley he loved, caring for his patients, experiencing nature, and enjoying his family.


06_08 MRBA Hughes Creek Campout (39) by mtbluegrass.

Maryett sitting by Jerry playing his banjo at a MRBA campout down the Bitterroot in Aug '06

Jerry was a Christian whose church was in nature.  He loved being outdoors, or at the kitchen window watching the light play on the mountains and watching the squirrels eat all the bird seed.  He loved to play music and sing.  Recently he began playing the banjo with all the crazy blue grassers and thoroughly enjoyed recalling the old time tunes his Grandma used to sing.  His bluegrass friends were like brothers to him.  He relished every minute of it.


Though Jerry died at an early age, he lived and loved life to the fullest.  He never lost his priorities, continuing seeking to serve people, achieve inner peace, and the enjoyment of life with his wife and family.


Jerry’s family includes his wife Maryett, two sons Marcus and Matthew; Stephanie, daughter-in-law; Sara, daughter-in-law; Christen, Aaron, Christopher, Makayla, Elias, grandchildren; Ron Swafford and John Rosenkrance, brothers living; Allen Swafford, Jack Swafford, brothers preceding him in death; and a loving mother, Lucille Rosenkrance, who was a strong influence over each of her children’s lives.  Sadly, Lucille has been forced to endure the raising five sons only to experience the grief of having three of them precede her in death. 


He was a proud father and grandpa, best friend and partner to his wife and family for 40 years.   He was a unique man who made everyone’s life a little brighter; a little better.  He will be truly missed.  To know him was to love and respect him.


            Family and friends will celebrate his life on February 14, from noon to 5:00 p.m.   at the Woodside Grange, located 2 miles north  of Hamilton Montana at the intersection of Highway 93 and Corvallis.  Everyone is invited.