Gordon Swayze was born in Seattle, Washington, in 1942. His father had just enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Force to become an Aviation Cadet and eventually served a 30-year career in the United States Air Force. His parents were both graduates of the University of Washington, but an air force flying career would take this family around the United States and Europe. Gordon attended Rincon High School in Tucson, Arizona while his father flew B-47 strategic bombers out of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. After graduating from Rincon’s first class, Gordon packed his car and ventured up to Seattle in order to major in art education at the University of Washington. He graduated in 1964 and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force.
The air force was an exciting career and Gordon volunteered for Special Operations as a Combat Control Officer. While serving between 1964 and 1978, he was stationed in Vietnam, Europe, Panama, and the United States. Gordon graduated from the Army Basic Parachutist’s Course, the Navy Underwater Swimmer’s Course, and the High Altitude Low Opening (HALO) Parachutist’s Course. He became a qualified HALO Jumpmaster, but left the air force to enter Southern California College of Optometry. In 1992, he returned to active duty as Chief of Aerospace Optometry at Howard Air Force Base, in the Republic of Panama.
It was while stationed in Panama that Gordon again embraced his first love… art! He started building a painting portfolio during his four-year assignment in Panama and then was reassigned to Davis-Monthan AFB, in Tucson, Arizona. Life was bringing him full-circle and in 1996 the US Air Force returned him to the beautiful Arizona Sonoran desert where his art interests were first stimulated.
Gordon believes that his marriage to his wife, Marcelle, in 1993, was the overt catalyst that motivated him to pick up his paintbrushes and palette knives. He is presently retired from the air force and living with Marcelle in Green Valley, Arizona, where he is developing his painting talent.