“A white protestant man with a full rich mustache.”
– Leslie Knope
Ronald Ulysses Swanson is director of the Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Recreation Department. His office has been the study of a local film crew documenting the day to day lives of his entire department, to be used as either a study, or reality show.
Ron Swanson’s trademarks are a finely combed coif, and that thick, rich, full mustache. The ’stache is what makes people both fear him, and love him at the same time.
Young Ron, Tammy, Tammy, and Tammy
Ron was born on or around May 6th, most likely in the late sixties or early seventies – though a flower child he is not. In fact Ron Swanson despises hippies, which are just one of his many pet peeves in this world.
Ron began working at a sheet metal factory around the age of nine, and within about a week he was running the floor as the shop supervisor. Still working there until age eleven, he was then offered a position at the local tannery working with leather, which was always a dream of his.
Ron worked both artisan jobs for a short time, all while completing middle school. This became a little but much for the young man so he eventually quit the tannery. Much to the dismay of his father, Swanson did attend college by hitchhiking to the local campus after his dad would drop him for work at the sheet metal factory.
His mother is Tamara Swanson, a very strong independent woman that has shaped many of his relationships in life. As Ron grew older, his fondness for very strong independent women grew, hence his fondness for WNBA basketball.
His first two wives are both named Tammy (just like his mother). Tammy One as he affectionately refers to her, was actually both the candy striper who helped deliver him, as well as his grammar school teacher. They actually began dating before Ron was of legal age, but everyone in town feared her so much, no one bothered to bring up the legalities of their relationship.
His second and third (he married her twice) wife is also named Tammy, aka Tammy Two. They grew up together, and have an extremely volatile relationship, and lustful sex life. Ron Swanson despises both his ex-wives, but Tammy Two the most.
Not much is known about his father, but he was present through Ron’s life. It is believed that his father had passed away, most likely due to a factory accident some years ago. Ron has at least one brother who is an Officer in the Air Force, and perhaps a second sibling. The nature of their relationship is not known for sure.
Respect His Privacy
Actually, as we will learn, all aspects of Ron Swanson’s private life have been kept very secret. What lies ahead (below on this page) is what he has divulged with the audience while being part of this documentary over the years.
Ron Swanson is an extremely private person, and even those that know him best do not know very much about him. He works endlessly to have most important records kept private, and has as much personal information about himself redacted on official documents as possible. According to him, his house isn’t even on a street.
Likes and Dislikes
What we do know is he despises his ex-wives, liars, weak-willed people, and strangely enough — the government, even though he loves America more than anything.
Ron Swanson is an avid outdoorsman and craftsman — enjoying hunting, fishing, and woodworking. His go to drink is Lagavulin Scotch Whiskey (single malt) and favorite foods consist of any breakfast food, especially bacon.
His other favorite grilled meat products include hamburgers, bacon-wrapped turkey legs, and steak — most notably the Turf and Turf, which is a 16oz T-bone and 24 oz Porter House. Ron tries to avoid fish meat, since it’s practically a vegetable. Salads and greens are for rabbits, and health food should never be consumed.
The Government and Libertarianism
Ron Swanson is a staunch Libertarian. He believes in a hands-off government, as small as possible. He was delighted to learn the local Pawnee government was to close, and also prides himself on the amount of money he has saved the taxpayers over the years:
“In the eight years I’ve been at the job, I’ve saved the taxpayers of this city more than a hundred fifty grand.”
When Chris Traeger worried about losing his City Manager job, Ron explained it could be a good thing, since Chris would no longer be sucking on the tete of the taxpayers.
On more than one occasion, Ron has revealed his desire to bring the entire government crumbling down. He would like to see the parks system privatized, and run for profit by corporations like Chuck E. Cheese.
Although Ron despises working for the government, he actually possesses a very strong work ethic. Even though he has never voluntarily stayed in the office past 5:04 PM, he has worked full time pretty much since the age of 9. The irony is that Ron Swanson appreciates a tireless work ethic, but never wants to see maximum effort applied to government work.
For example, Ron commends Tom Haverford for slowing down government work and showing zero initiative for his job at the Parks Department. Yet he fully supports his hard work on outside entrepreneurial projects such as the Snakehole Lounge, loaning capital to open Rent a Swag, and crafting furniture for Tom’s Bistro.
Ron Swanson has come to view Andy Dwyer as a son, and respects him for “pulling himself up by his boot straps.” Andy probably reminds Ron of himself at a younger age, and was so impressed by Andy, he offered to pay his college tuition. He encouraged Andy to take a class he would learn something from, as opposed to getting the easy A.
When Ron noticed Leslie was spreading herself thin with too many projects, he convinced her to cut back her hours, and put more effort into her campaign for City Councilman:
“Never half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.”
At the same time, Ron saw the potential in his assistant April, and promoted her to take on more of Leslie’s day to day duties in the department. Although Ron hates the government, he recognized April was wasting away at her current position, and was capable of so much more.
The Legend of Duke Silver
When not trying to thwart the government from within, or partaking in outdoor recreations, Ron Swanson moonlights as a Jazz saxophonist under the alias of Duke Silver. His identity used to be top secret, but over time colleagues began to catch on.
April Ludgate knew because her mother is an avid fan, and Tom Haverford discovered the truth while the Parks Department employees were trying to discover deep secrets about each other. Both agreed to keep hush, as well as his 3rd wife (current wife of his 4th marriage) Diane Lewis. He would eventually reveal himself (Duke Silver) at the Pawnee Unity concert.
Finances and Frugality
All three people who know about Duke Silver also help paint the often deadpan and stoic Ron Swanson in a softer light. He may not always show it, or like to show it, but he can be quite compassionate and fiercely loyal.
He could not bear to see Leslie Knope lose her job when Ben and Chris were about to make budget cuts, and volunteered to sacrifice his own job in their “righteous war.”
It also becomes common knowledge that after an epic night of love making Ron will also dress like Tiger Woods on the final day of a tournament, in a red polo shirt & black slacks.
Ron is also quite frugal at times, and can be considered a minimalist of sorts. He rarely spends money on new things but is very giving when it comes to money, as he once paid for friend/co-worker Andy Dwyer ($940) to attend one Women’s Studies class at junior college.
We do find out Ron Swanson is heavily invested in gold and actually has enough money that his two step daughters (Ivy & Zoey, the daughters of his current wife Diane) never have to work in their life. However Ron values hard work so he will not let them become trust fund children.