By Laurie Stone: PNT Correspondent
Dan Swopes was a mild-mannered man that was honest and humble. He kept to himself but set a strong example of what a man of character should look like, according to family and friends. Whether at work or with his family, Swopes worked towards what needed to be done and what he felt was right in order to make things better for people.
Dan Swopes died May 9, 2005, at the age of 59, due to complications with a bleeding ulcer.
Swopes’ booming laughter was often heard when he was interacting with his family, according to Shirley Swopes, Dan Swopes’ wife.
“We were everything to him,” Shirley said. “He was our protector, our provider and our backbone.”
Swopes loved God and though he was a silent man, Shirley said her husband fought hard in prayer for everyone in his life; his family, friends and employees.
“He had a quality about him that made him feel he had a responsibility for people, regardless of the measure they were in his life,” Shirley said.
Dan Swopes was born Aug. 26, 1945, in Portales, to Essie and Walter R. Swopes. He graduated from Portales High School in 1963, and was active in FFA while in school. He was employed for several years in local grocery stores. He met Shirley Elliott while in high school, and on Aug. 11, 1964, he married his bride in Lewiston, Idaho. They have two children together and were married 41 years.
Soon after marrying, he began working as a telegraph operator for Santa Fe Railroad. Later he was employed at Cooper Hobbs Chevrolet where he detailed cars. He served the City of Portales for 26 years. He began working for the City of Portales Water/Wastewater department in 1978. He was promoted to Utilities Superintendent in 1997.
Swopes enjoyed nature, hunting arrowheads, meteorites, rocks and relics. He was an avid reader and a writer of poetry. He often took pictures of old vacant buildings which he used as a prompt to help him write poetry.
“He was the type of person that conducted himself well,” said Danielle Swopes, Dan Swopes’ daughter. “He knew how to find the proper path towards solving a problem and he knew how to treat people that he dealt with during the solution.
“But the most outstanding thing about him was that he was as you saw him, he was genuinely a nice person.”