Cover photo for William "Bill" V. Swanland's Obituary
William "Bill" V. Swanland Profile Photo
1931 William 2022

William "Bill" V. Swanland

August 28, 1931 — December 18, 2022

On Sunday, December 18, 2022, our beloved and favorite pilot, William Vern Swanland, took his final flight into the arms of Jesus at the age of 91. He was a loving father, grandfather, companion, and friend. He will be greatly missed.
Bill was born on August 28, 1931, in Burlington, WA and the only child of Verlin and Joy (Harper) Swanland. His family was in the chicken farming business and Bill grew up learning and working in the industry.
After graduating from Burlington-Edison High School in 1949, he attended Washington State College but soon left to join the Air Force. He wanted to be a pilot but failed the hearing test. Bill moved up the ranks to become an Air Force Staff Sergeant, spending four years in Washington DC. While there, he met Mary Jean Martin. They were married in 1951 and had four children: John Swanland (Yew-Wooi) of Melbourne Australia, Linda Scott (Jon) of Green Valley, AZ, Sue Egbert (Tim) of Bow, and Carol Snyder (Todd) of Sedro-Woolley. He also has eight grandchildren: Jacob, Riley, Khalid, Sara, Taylor, Cynthia, Shayna, and Dawson, plus ten great-grandchildren.
After Bill’s discharge in 1954 from the Air Force, he took his young family back to Skagit County where they owned and operated the Little Mountain Grocery. Prior to seeking his pilot’s license, Bill also worked at Shell Oil Refinery in Anacortes.
Bill learned to fly as a hobby and soon became a flight instructor at Barker Airfield in Mt. Vernon. He was a highly skilled pilot and followed his passion into the crop-dusting industry. He operated his own company with multiple partners along the way and was a fixture in the Skagit County farming community. Bill developed many innovative chemical application techniques. He could identify crops from high in the air and easily name who they belonged to as well as identify what each field needed.
In his younger years, Bill’s hobbies included raising pigeons, training and competing in Field Trials with Labrador retrievers on a national basis, fishing, skiing, and motorcycle riding. He was an avid reader. Bill’s last 30 years were spent with his love, Donna Barnhart and his kitty, Lacey. They both enjoyed traveling and playing golf while living in Yuma, AZ and Bellingham.
Bill is survived by Donna, his four children and their families together with many friends. He will be sorely missed.
Donations in Bill’s name may be made to the Whatcom Hospice Foundation to honor the wonderful care he received or a charity of your choice.
A celebration of Bill’s life will be at Trinity Lutheran Church located at 119 Texas St. Bellingham WA on Wednesday, December 28th at 2:00 PM followed by a reception.
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William "Bill" V. Swanland, please visit our flower store.

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Celebration of Life

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

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