Donald Gene Swalls

Donald Gene Swalls, 87 of Brazil, passed away unexpectedly March 30, 2020 at his residence. He was born November 13, 1932 in Vigo County, the son of Charles Vern “Jake” Swalls and Lela Stephens Swalls. He graduated from Glenn High School, Class of 1950. He enlisted in the United States Air Force in 1952. He was a tail gunner on a B-29 during the Korean Conflict. On December 30, 1952 his aircraft was attacked by 8 MIGS and crashed out of a crew of 12 only 3 survived. They were captured and became POW’s. He was returned to U.S. Military control on July 27, 1953. He was credited for shooting down one of the attacking MIGS.
As seniors in high school, Gene met Mary Jo Lanning at a 4-H cookout. They have been together ever since. United in marriage on October 22, 1953 and raised their three sons together, Dennis, Ken and Alan.
Gene worked at Commercial Solvents, Sherffy and Kid Furniture Store and for Pillsbury for over 28 years. He retired from Pillsbury in 1990.
He and Mary Jo enjoyed square dancing, playing cards, traveling to Branson and riding their motorcycle. They also enjoyed eating out and having a good meal together.
Gene loved horses. He had horses his whole life and was a member of the Quarter Horse Association. He supported Alan in 4-H Horse and Pony events.
He was a member of the Knightsville Masonic Lodge #541 for over 50 years and had served as the Past Master.
Gene was preceded in death by is parents; one son, Dennis Swalls; brothers, Vern, Wayne, Joe and Rex Swalls; sisters, Myrtle Swalls, Ruby Philabaum and Barbara Jones.
Survivors include his wife of 66 years, Mary Jo Swalls; daughter in law, Connie Swalls, sons Ken Swalls (Cindy Watts) and Alan Swalls (Robin); grandchildren, USAF Captain Clint Swalls (Kori), Jaleen Royer (Justin), Ryan Swalls (Merideth), Adam Swalls (Abby), Hannah Swalls (Jacob Nichols), Sarah Swalls and Hunter Collins (Trisha); 8 great-grandchildren, Tate Swalls, Julian Swalls, Lanning Royer, Donald Gene “Duke” Swalls, II, Walter Kent Swalls, Ethan Conrad Swalls, Cora Lynn Swalls, River Collins; sister Shirley Barns; many nieces, nephews and extended family.
A graveside service will be held on Friday at 2:30 at Clearview Cemetery. Mark Miller will officiate. Military graveside rites will be provided by the USAF and the American Legion Post #2 and VFW Post #1127. Post a note of condolence at In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to the Shriners Hospital for Children 4400 Clayton Ave. St. Louis, MO. 63110