Gary 'Swede' French
Gary "Swede" French was born Aug 18, 1945 in Forest Grove, OR to Glen and Agnes Kelly French. He graduated from Banks High School in 1963. Even though he moved to Sandy, OR he remained very connected to his family and friends in Banks. He was united in marriage to Linda Aird on June 1, 1985 in Rhododendron, OR. His first jobs were forest firefighting and later logging. He was a volunteer firefighter in Sandy and at 35, became a fulltime firefighter for City of Gresham, retiring as a Captain in 2001. His volunteer work for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation lasted almost 40 years. He started as a committee member, became a State Chair, then a Regional Chair and then a Regional Director, then for almost 6 years served on the Board of Directors, when that service was done, he returned to being a committee member of the Rose City Chapter. He loved the mission of Foundation, but what he loved most was the people; they became family. He was an avid fisherman, and since retirement in 2001, fished for salmon every spring. If he was asked to do something during salmon season, he would tell you how many days of fishing he was missing. He took family and friends out with him and was especially proud that he was able to help his grandchildren Rena, Maya and James catch their first salmon. His other great passion was hunting. He grew up hunting with his dad and uncles and he carried on the tradition, first with his son Kenny, later with wife Linda and then granddaughter Rena and finally grandson James. He went on a big horn sheep hunt in Alaska in 1996 and the following year the Guide invited him to become his assistant; Swede said yes and continued to guide in Alaska for the next twenty years, mostly for moose and grizzly bears. Digging razor clams was a fun activity done with family and friends, both in OR and WA. Swede took all but one of the grandchildren to Disneyland, and so Linda took Ola in 2019. He was preceded in death, by his parents and brothers Joe and Michael. Survivors include his wife Linda and son and daughter-in-law, Kenny and Midori French of Hillsboro, OR and step-sons and daughters-in-laws, Craig and Sandy Aird of Valencia, CA. and Kevin and Nicole Aird of Sherwood, OR. Two brothers and sister-in-law Roger French of Banks, OR, Ron and Terry French of Sandy, OR and his sister and brother-in-law, Glenda and Rick Costain, of Albany, OR. Nephews Brad, Cody and Luke French. Also surviving are his seven grandchildren, all of which he loved very much and was very proud. Seira, Rena and Maya French. James, Ola, John, and Jack Aird. Swede will be missed for many things but especially his fun-loving nature and his gift of storytelling.
Mt Hood Hospice was kind and helpful in taking care of Swede the last week of his life. Celebration of life will be held sometime in the Spring of 2022.