James Edward Swonger

James Edward Swonger

James Edward Swonger

James Edward Swonger, age 85, was welcomed into the loving embrace of his Lord and Savior on Saturday, October 17, 2015 after a lengthy struggle with failing health. A long-time resident of Jackson County for over 52 years, James (Jim) made his home, along with his loving family in the communities of Jackson, Wellston, and more recently the beautiful countryside along Horton Sisters Road, rural Jackson.

As a young man, Jim enlisted in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War serving much of his enlistment in Japan and concluding his military service with an honorable discharge in 1954 as a Staff Sergeant in Austin, Texas. While living in Austin, Jim married Betty Fredrick, the love of his life in December 1953 and their 50-year marriage union was blessed with three children. Following his military service, Jim earned a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ohio State University. For the next several years, Jim was employed in sales for KVP Papers, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Michigan and later in Memphis, Tennessee. In 1962, Jim began a sales career in pharmaceutical supplies that led him and his growing family to Youngstown, Ohio and ultimately to Jackson County where he served as a regional sales representative for the Wendt-Bristol Company of Dublin, Ohio.

Throughout Jim’s working career, he always provided faithfully for his family, serving in sales and product promotion for a diverse array of commodities, including insurance for Metropolitan Life, janitorial supplies, tires, and a brief time of service with the American Cancer Society. Late in his working career, Jim was employed with Jeno’s Pizza for several years and for a brief period enjoyed his favorite job as a grounds keeper with the State Historical Society at the Buckeye Furnace.

Jim possessed a deep love for nature and thoroughly enjoyed celebrating many of his retirement years practicing the “simple life” of self-sufficiency with his wife, Betty, whom he called his “country buddy” at their 16-acre country home along Horton Sisters Road. Most days you would find Jim stoking the fires of his home, preparing pancakes on his wood-burning stove, smoking his favorite pipe, nursing a good cup of coffee, while watching an army of birds swooping down to his feeders.

Jim pursued a few hobbies in his life, but the past-times that gave him greatest pleasure were gardening and riding his bicycle. Jim loved experimenting with gardening techniques that were low on labor and high on productivity. His results were frequently amazing and rewarding. An avid bicycling enthusiast for many years, Jim could boast that he completed TOSRV (Tour of Scioto River Valley) for 15 consecutive years, an annual two-day bicycle ride of 210 miles between Columbus and Portsmouth.

Jim was a quiet man whose life was guided by a deeply rooted Christian faith and a strong sense of integrity. His gentle and patient spirit made him a remarkable husband and beloved father. He will be missed greatly by all who knew him best.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Floyd and Fern (Faulkner) Swonger, and his wife, Betty (Fredrick) Swonger. Those who continue celebrating his life include his sisters: Nayda (Henry) Colomb of Apex, NC and Dana Weston of Ohio; as well as his children: David (Joanne) Swonger of Bismarck, ND and their children – Emelie and Luke; Mark Swonger of Broomfield, CO and his children – Joseph and Sarah; and Laura (Jim) Brown of Wellston, OH and their daughter – Molly (Shawn) Meeks of Gallipolis, OH and their daughter, Kennedy Mae.

Calling hours will be Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m. at the McWilliams Funeral Home in Wellston. Funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at the McWilliams Funeral Home with Pastor Andy Rawlins officiating. Burial, with military honors, will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery. Online condolences can be sent to the family at www.mcwilliams-funeralhome.com.[[In-content Ad]]

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