Baptist church hosts farewell party for Swansons

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Yampa Valley Baptist Church is hosting a farewell open house for George and Laura Swanson.

The couple has been active at the church for two years and worked with the Gideons for many years distributing Bibles.

"Many of the people have known them for years and years and years," said Rosie Potter, the wife of the church's pastor. "They are well-loved members of our community and our church."

George worked for 32 years at Moffat County State Bank, working his way up to cashier and then vice president. Laura taught elementary school in Craig for generations of students, working at Yampa, Sunset and East elementary schools, teaching sixth, fourth and third grades.

George moved to Craig in 1932, and Laura came to town in 1937. When asked whether they had seen any changes, Laura replied.

"Oh boy, yes! We saw this town grow from a little, dinky town," she said.

George said that when he was 14 there was a big moment for the town of Craig.

"They had just brought natural gas to town," George said. "There were street dances and a big celebration."

People from all over town have been stopping by to wish the couple well in their move to Lingle, Wyo., to be closer to their daughter.

"I'm sorry to be leaving," Laura said, noting how many of her former students have been saying farewell to the teacher. "I say, hello, who are you? They were 8 years old then. Now they are in their 40s."

Laura has been receiving many letters saying things like, "I love you, Mrs. Swanson."

More recently, Laura has been volunteering at The Memorial Hospital.

The couple says they will enjoy Wyoming, with their new apartment in their daughter's home on the North Platte River.

George is 88 years old and Laura is 91. He said the secret to their long relationship -- 67 years on May 27 -- is "Because we both love the Lord."

To the people of Craig, they would like to say thanks for the hospitality and the friendships.

People have a chance to say goodbye to them from 2 to 4 p.m. May 20 at Yampa Valley Baptist Church, 3900 E. Victory Way.

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