Kenneth Leigh Swasey, 85, of Damariscotta, devoted husband of Beverly J. Swasey, father of Ronald Lee Swasey and Brian William Swasey, both of Eugene, Ore., passed away on Jan. 7, 2024, after a period of declining health.
Ken was born in 1938 in Lincoln, to William and Ada Swasey. He grew up in Lincoln, graduated from Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln before heading west to attend San Diego City College’s diesel tech program from which he earned an associate degree. Ken enrolled at Humboldt State University and later graduated from California Polytechnic State University with his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Business Management. Ken entered the U.S. Navy in 1961 and attended U.S. Navy IC School. He achieved the rate of interior communications electrician, 3rd class, directing and coordinating the installation, maintenance, and repair of interior communications systems on ships and at shore facilities. Ken served on the USS Walker (DD-517), a Fletcher-class destroyer, until he left the Navy in 1964.
Ken joined the U.S. Forest Service upon leaving the Navy and served for 1 1⁄2 years as a surface rights determinator and forest firefighter. More importantly he continued to build his expertise in advanced mechanical systems, which served him in later employment with Union Pacific Railroad, Southern Pacific Railroad, and Maine Eastern Railroad, as well as the U.S. Coast Guard, serving there for 20 years as a civilian supervisor. Over these years, he was constantly looking to the maintenance of locomotives and other diesel engines. Well before he retired, in 1996, and into his final years, that he spent in Damariscotta, Ken put his interests in machinery and mechanical systems to extreme use. He likely remains the only Damariscotta resident to ever own, service, and operate his personal bulldozer. He took great interest and joy in the practice of tinkering, puttering, and repairing tools and machinery of all types, ranging from a 1950s vintage outboard engine to heavy-duty farm equipment.
Not only in his professional career, but in his personal endeavors, Ken was dedicated to serving others. While living and working in California, Hawaii, Nebraska, and Maine, he served as an assistant scout master for the Boy Scouts of America and served the Damariscotta United Methodist Church in various ways for seven years. He also worked closely with Bunker Hill Grange in Jefferson, raising funds for vitally needed community service projects. In his leisure time, he enjoyed swimming, was an avid square dancer, and particularly delighted in singing in the U.S. Navy Boot Camp Chorus. He was an active member of the Bunker Hill Baptist Church in Jefferson.
Ken was predeceased by his parents; former wife, Mary Lou Swasey; and is survived by his wife, Beverly; his two sons, Ronald and Brian; grandson, Benjamin; granddaughters, Jennifer, and Laura; four great-grandchildren; a nephew, Ronald Junkins; as well as three stepchildren and their families.
A celebration of life will be held at the Bunker Hill Baptist Church in Jefferson later in the spring.
Arrangements are by Hall Funeral Home, in Waldoboro.
To share a memory or condolence with the Swasey family, please go to hallfuneralhomes.com.