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William Swinehart

April 18, 1921 - January 20, 2016
Scotts, MI

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Visitations


Saturday, February 6, 2016
10:00 AM to 12:00 PM EST
Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097

Services


Saturday, February 6, 2016
12:00 PM EST
Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 S. Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097

Monday, February 8, 2016
1:00 PM EST
Cedar Hill Cemetery
275 N Cedar St
Newark, OH 43055
1 (740) 670-7775

Contributions


At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.

Vicksburg United Methodist Church
217 South Main Street
Vicksburg, MI 49097
(269) 649-2343
Driving Directions
Web Site

Charity of Choice

The Dawes Arboretum
7770 Jacksontown Rd
Heath, OH 43056
Web Site

Flowers


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

Heirloom Rose
407 S. Grand St.
Schoolcraft, MI 49087
(269) 679-3010
Driving Directions
Web Site

Ambati
1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


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William (Bill) T. Swinehart

April 18, 1921 – January 20, 2016

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Bill’s Life Story

An inspiration to all, Bill approached life in a unique, determined (“mind over matter”) way. This quiet, respectful man enjoyed life, particularly through his many projects, jobs, services, family and friends. He helped others in and through his church, blood donations, Boy Scouts, repairing medical equipment and as a conservationist on his 130 acres.

Bill began life in another era, spending much time with grandparents who were born during the Civil War. He grew up on Newark, OH farms without electricity, tractors and indoor plumbing. His father often worked away from home (12 hours a day, 6 days a week), while maintaining a farm, too, during the Great Depression. Bill later maintained their/his farmhouses as a tribute to this era. He also served the Vicksburg Historical Society with his love and respect of the past.

Bill met Laverne Ruth Bouse as students at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio, before WWII began, served in the Army Air Corp (based out of Guam) as a flight engineer and flew in the Last Mission of WWII. After the war he married Laverne, completed his education at OU (MS Electrical Engineering), and started a career and a family (3 boys, 1 girl). His military experience stayed with him the rest of his life: initially with a career in the aerospace industry, later through military reunions and finally with excellent care from the staff of the VA (Veterans Administration) medical centers in both Battle Creek and Ann Arbor.

What an adventure for him to become an electrical engineer and to exploit the uses of electricity after starting his life before household electricity. As a process control engineer he began with improving planes and rockets. Then he helped spacecraft (Surveyor I) and men (Apollo) land on the moon. At home he had motion detectors everywhere, to turn on lights, notify us of visitors and even to scare intruders. He purchased a hovercraft and tried to build one from scratch, not from a kit.

Though his jobs took him from his native Ohio (to Texas and then Michigan where he settled), his heart never left Ohio. Out of love of his parents and grandparents, he kept his family’s two farms, later turning them into tree farms. He visited as much as he could and had as many friends in Ohio as in Michigan. He cared for his Michigan and Ohio properties as a conservationist, for both the trees and the animals. Pets included dogs, cats, crows, groundhogs, snakes (college dorm room!), squirrel, and raccoons. He loved weapons of all sorts, as an engineer not as a hunter.

Family history and reunions were important, as he had few relatives. “Christmas in July” was part reunion and part Christmas (as December weather was unreliable). He also loved to travel, with his job and with his family (loaded into the family station wagon). Bill also had a special 50th wedding anniversary gift for Laverne, a driving trip up through Canada to Alaska then to the top of the Yukon in their little station wagon. He will be buried in Ohio, near parents and their relatives.

God and church were important to Bill. He was a member of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church and served within the church and outside the church (including a mission trip to Navajo country). We held annual church picnics at the house for many years (complete with tractor rides and broken bones during softball games), and all-night youth New Year’s Eve parties (complete with ice skating and sledding).

Friends enjoyed Bill’s creative approach to problems, his dry sense of humor and attempts at practical jokes. His creativity and determination aided his crusade to design new things and to fix anything that was broken. This began on the farm, continued through WWII (where one of his titles was Maintenance Engineer for the Guam air field), and on to design work in the aerospace industry and finally with medical equipment. Family and friends were always bringing him stuff to fix.

Bill was an aerospace engineer and manager at Curtiss Wright aircraft (Columbus, OH), Chance Vought Aircraft (Dallas, TX), and National Water Lift Company (Kalamazoo, MI). He went on to Western Michigan University (Associate Professor), J. Moeller & associates (medical equipment design), BarMo Metalcrafters, and retired from his own medical repair business, Swinehart Services. He also served as Pavilion Township Clerk.

He loved spending time with people of similar, varied interests: history, WWII, early science fiction, Native Americans (Mound Builders in Ohio), military weapons and aircraft, dueling, aircraft, the space program and electrical devices for many uses.

William T. Swinehart, age 94 of Scotts passed away January 20, 2016 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. A memorial service will be held on Saturday February 6, 2016 at noon at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church, 217 S. Main Street. Bill is survived by his wife Laverne, three sons Grant (Pam), Lyle (Debbi), Dirk (Margaret), a daughter Gail (Joe) Green, a grandson Wes, a granddaughter Stacey, a step-grandson Josh, a step-granddaughter Anne and a step-great-granddaughter Rowan, a granddaughter Cara and great-grandchildren Braylon, Bailey, and Ramon. Memorial donations can be made to the Vicksburg UM Church, The Dawes Arboretum (Heath, OH) or the charity of your choice. See online information at http://www.lifestorynet.com/.

Obituary:

William T. Swinehart, age 94 passed away January 20, 2016 at Bronson Methodist Hospital. Bill was born April 18, 1921 in Newark, Ohio to Paul & Bertha (Woolard) Swinehart. He proudly served our country in the Army Air Corp as a Flight Engineer during WWII (Guam) and flew in the Last Mission. Bill retired from his own medical equipment repair company, Swinehart Services. He also worked at BarMo Metalcrafters, J. Moeller & associates, WMU (Assist. Professor), and aerospace engineer and manager at: National Water Lift Company, Chance Vought Aircraft (Dallas) and Curtiss Wright (Columbus, OH). He was a member of the Vicksburg United Methodist Church and the Vicksburg Historical Society, and had served in the District Offices of Boy Scouts. He was a 1939 graduate of Jacksontown (OH) High School, and received EE degrees from Ohio University in 1943 (BS) and 1947 (MS). The family would like to thank the staff of the VA (Battle Creek and Ann Arbor) and other care givers. Visitation will be held on Saturday February 6, 2016 from 10:00 a.m to 12:00 noon at the Vicksburg United Methodist Church; 217 S. Main Street, Vicksburg where a funeral service will immediately follow at 12:00 noon. Bill is survived by his wife Laverne, three sons Grant E. (Pam) Swinehart, Naperville, IL; Lyle W. (Debbi) Swinehart, Paw Paw, MI; Dirk E. (Margaret) Swinehart, Chillicothe, OH; a daughter Gail (Joe) Green, Carmel, IN; a grandson Wes Swinehart, a granddaughter Stacey Swinehart, a step-grandson Josh Diedrich, a step-granddaughter Anne Diedrich and a step-great-granddaughter Rowan, a granddaughter Cara Swinehart and great-grandchildren Braylon, Bailey, and Ramon. Visit Bill’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read his life story, leave a memory and sign his guest book. Memorial donations can be made to the Vicksburg United Methodist Church, The Dawes Arboretum (7770 Jacksontown Rd, Heath, OH 43056), or a charity of one’s choice. The family was serviced by Life Story Funeral Homes; Vicksburg (649-1697).

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