Karl was born March 12, 1931, son of Clifford and Cynthia Speirs Swan. He lived most of his life in Tooele, Utah where he played in his own dance band, played high school football and sang in choirs and quartets. He graduated from Tooele High School and the University of Utah where he majored in Music Education.
After beginning his teaching career at Grantsville and Tooele High School, he accepted a call to serve his Faith (L.D.S.) in the West German Mission for two years. Following his mission, he returned to the “U“ to work on an advanced degree. He met and married Janet Lowe in September 1957, later becoming proud parents of five children: Stephen, David, Gary, Amy, and Elizabeth. Later he was proud to welcome their spouses Tawn, Jennifer, Melissa, Martin Moreno and Rick Heap.
The Swans lived on Upland Drive in Tooele. The street brings back his memories of neighbors participating in planting a half block of uniform Linden trees. Karl became familiar with Linden trees on his mission where in Berlin where there is a street named for the tree, “Unter den Linden”.
During the first four years after returning to Tooele, the Tooele High Music Dept produced four Broadway Musicals: Brigadoon, Oklahoma, Carousel, and Kiss Me Kate. He believed in 1957 and still believes that the experience of performing live theater is not only excellent for confidence and talent development, but a truly memorable experience for teenagers.
Karl was elected to the Utah State Senate in 1970 and served for twenty years in that legislative body, serving six years as Minority Whip and promoting issues of education, natural resources and local issues of concern to his immediate constituency (Tooele County).
Karl lost his wife Janet in 2003. Later, while serving on the Governor’s Commission for Women and Families, he met and later married Kay T. Rawson on Valentine’s Day, 2004. Together they claim 11 children, 27 grandchildren, and 39 great grandchildren. Because of COVID-19, they are planning a party for him at a later date.