Thomas Swann

Died: August 10, 2023
Thomas   Swann thumbnail
Marana Mortuary & Cemetery
Andrew J. Klyde, Esq.
Louise Swann
Marla Fair Light a candle


Tom passed away from complications of Alzheimer’s Disease on August 10, 2023. He grew up in Flat Rock, Michigan where he was captain of his high school track team. Tom graduated from the University of Michigan with a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

Tom left Ford Motor Company in the Mid-1970s, relocating to Los Alamos, New Mexico. He specialized in optics and laser technology at Los Alamos National Labs and left to become a serial entrepreneur. He received an MBA from the University of New Mexico and founded Optomec Design, an additive manufacturing company in Albuquerque NM. He consulted in Optical-Mechanics and government contracting for many years.

Tom was also the Financial Director of Bonanza Conventions, Inc. which hosted several Bonanza TV western conventions at Lake Tahoe over a ten year period. Tom went on to help restore Ponderosa II, Lorne Greene’s former home in Mesa, Arizona. He and his wife Louise hosted Bonanza fans for four additional events at Ponderosa II between 2013 and 2019.

Tom was an accomplished Optical-Mechanical Engineer. His life’s work led him from designing chassis for Ford Motor Company to designing lunar landing experiments for Apollo 17. Through all of this far reaching work he never forgot his love for family and his Bonanza Community.

Tom is survived by his wife Louise, daughter Jennifer Swann Von Boetticher and son Andrew Swann.

No services are planned. A donation may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in Tom’s name.

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Died: August 10, 2023

Condolences for Thomas Swann

Marana Mortuary & Cemetery

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Marana Mortuary & Cemetery.


Andrew J. Klyde, Esq. posted on 5/2/24

I’ve known Tom for 25 years. A quarter of a century! As long-time attorney for David Dortort and his company, Bonanza Ventures, I worked closely with Tom on many occasions. We met at the planning session at Lake Tahoe for what would be the first of four successful BONANZA Conventions (the first celebrating the iconic series’ 40th anniversary, and the following three celebrating friendships forged amongst the attendees who gathered from around the globe) over a ten-year period. Along with fellow organizers Vicki Christian and Heike Barke, Tom (who managed business affairs) comprised a triumvirate that produced memorable celebrations for hundreds of fans and dozens of BONANZA alumni, and 28 issues of the award-winning Bonanza Gold magazine. But without question, Tom’s greatest BONANZA-related achievement – and there were many – was meeting and marrying Louise, the love of his life. Sharing a life-long devotion to the classic Western series, the two settled in Arizona and embarked together on a mission, to find Ponderosa II, the legendary house that Lorne Greene built. In 2011, Tom and Louise surprised us all when they announced that they had not only found but purchased the house custom-built for Lorne Greene in Mesa in 1963, from Paramount Studios’ art director Earl Hedrick’s architectural drawings. The amazing duo spent two years restoring and refurbishing the magnificent home to its pristine 1963 condition, and in 2013, opened its doors to hundreds of enthusiasts who again traveled from all over the world to attend the first of a series of four biennial gatherings, culminating in a gala 50th anniversary celebration in 2019. But Tom wasn’t finished yet! With Louise’s invaluable help with applications, petitions, mass mailings, zoning and historic preservation board reviews (and despite rejections), Tom succeeded in adding Ponderosa II to the National Register of Historic Places, and obtaining a Historic Landmark designation from the city of Mesa. Tom was indeed an extraordinary fellow. His business acumen (in a variety of areas) was second-to-none, and his sense of ethics and fair play rivaled that of “Ben Cartwright” himself. If there was something Tom wanted to do, and he put his mind to doing it, he would succeed. Well, there was the rare exception. He collaborated on a teleplay, and if THE PONDEROSA series (the prequel to BONANZA) had not been cancelled prematurely, I’d bet Tom could’ve added screenplay writer to his list of many achievements. I am grateful I had the opportunity to know and work with Tom. How I wish we could work together on yet another exciting BONANZA adventure.


Robin Edinger posted on 8/23/23

My sincere condolences to the Swann family. May Tom's memory always be for a blessing to all of you.


Pat Hirst posted on 8/23/23

Wonderful to have known you Tom. Remembering you with love and laughter. Pat Hirst .


Louise Swann posted on 8/22/23

I love you honey, always and forever. You were the best years of my life.


vicki christian posted on 8/22/23

A wonderful man who will be much missed. Vicki Christian


Pam McComb posted on 8/22/23

I too, met Tom through Bonanza, t I think the first year may have been 2002 at Lake Tahoe. A quiet, gentle man he was, and everyone that knew him liked/loved him. Tom and Louise were quite a team Tom was the quiet one, Louise was the bubbly one and they truly complemented and balanced each other out. They had a wonderful love story and the events they put on in the Ponderosa II were wonderful events. Friendships have been forged in the Bonanza community because of Tom and Louise, not only within the US but with those that came from other countries as well. He will be greatly missed by many, but my heart really goes out to Louise because she will miss him most of all. ❤️


Marla Fair posted on 8/21/23

I remember Tom well as the quiet gentleman who was always kind and helpful no matter what. When I came to my first Bonanza convention, I was pretty sick. Tom and Louise were so generous with me, carting me back and forth from our room to the Ponderosa II. The second time I attended the Bonanza convention, I got to help the Swanns behind the scenes. Such wonderful memories!


Bertie WHITTEN posted on 8/21/23

I was so sad to hear the very sad news of Tom ,such a lovely man who I met in 2019 on there last convention,Tom and Louise made everyone so welcome ,god bless you Tom RIP ,BERTIE x


Lynne Coulson posted on 8/21/23

I was saddened to hear of the passing of Tom. I met him through our mutual love of Bonanza and we shared some fun trips together while I was assisting in setting up one of the conventions at Tahoe. Tom was a real gentleman in the true sense of the word and he will be greatly missed by many, including the Bonanza family of fans. Condolences to Louise and Tom’s children Little Joe forever Lynne (UK)