Richard V. SwiftApril 08,2013
Richard V. Swift
Richard V. Swift
BARRE TOWN — Richard V. “Dick” Swift, 84, of Woodland Drive, died Thursday, April 4, 2013, at his home, surrounded by his family.
He was born to Ella (Richardson) Swift on Feb. 13, 1929, in Worcester, Mass. At age 5 and after her death, he was adopted by William and Ethel (Flanders) Swift. He attended Matheson Elementary School in Barre and graduated from Thetford Academy in 1947. Following graduation from high school, he enlisted in the United States Navy serving on the USS Macomb minesweeping in the Mediterranean Sea. After his discharge from the service in 1950, he attended Becker Junior College in Worcester, Mass., graduating in 1952. While attending college, he was a member of Phi Theta Pi, an honorary business fraternity.
On April 26, 1952, Dick married the love of his life, Mabel Joyce Farnham, in Barre. This made Dick a new member of the Farnham family. He quickly became everyone’s favorite “Uncle Dick,” and many non-family members also knew him as “Uncle Dick” or “Swifty.” Following their marriage, they lived in Springfield, Mass., Ware, Mass., St. Johnsbury, Vt., and Littleton, N.H. (1954-1968) before moving to Barre Town in 1968.
In earlier years, Dick worked as a manager for the McClellan Retail Store in St. Johnsbury; as an insurance investigator for 21 years with the Retail Credit Co. and New York Life Insurance Co.; owned and operated a bread business and a Thomas English Muffin sales route; was a school janitor at Spaulding High School in Barre; served for many years as a senior enlisted man with the Vermont Army National Guard; was employed by General Electric in Burlington; and worked for Capitol Stationers in Barre. In his late 60s, Dick became a substitute teacher at local schools. At the age of 73, he became a full-time substitute teacher for Barre Town Middle and Elementary School, a job that he dearly loved. He also was a part-time house painter.
While living in Littleton, N.H., he served as a Littleton park commissioner and was a member of the Littleton Lions Club where he had served as president. After moving to Barre Town, he became a member of the Montpelier Lions Club and the Canadian Club and the American Legion Post 10, both of Barre. He was also a member of the Democratic Party, Alcoholics Anonymous, where he was a sponsor and had reached 54 years of sobriety, the Sno-Bees, and served as a commander in the Vermont Civil War Hemlocks group.
Swifty’s interests were many and varied. He enjoyed raising sheep and showing them at local fairs, fishing, hunting, skiing, playing horseshoes and cards, which he took very seriously. He liked to attend Thunder Road and enjoyed NASCAR racing, coaching and watching baseball, keeping the scoreboard for the American Legion Post 10 team, and calling bingo at the Canadian Club. He had a deep love for children and took pleasure in playing Santa Claus during the Christmas season since 1967. He really liked going to the Trow Hill Grocery Store for his coffee, ice cream floats and sharing jokes. Dick was a passionate reader and enjoyed crossword puzzles. He also was a poet who wrote many beautiful and touching poems.
All of his interests aside, his No. 1 passion was his family. He was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. His favorite thing was to gather with everyone for a birthday or holiday. His family was fortunate to be able to be all together with Dick for Easter dinner. It was a bittersweet celebration. A niece also had a star named after him.
As the family has been going through Swifty’s pictures and newspaper clippings, it appears that he may have been photographed more times than Elvis. He certainly had more “five minutes of fame” than anybody the family knew, including his appearance on WCAX television as a “Super Senior.” He will be deeply missed by his family, friends and all of the students whose lives he touched.
He is survived by his wife, Mabel Farnham Swift; his children, Sarah Carlyle and her husband, Robert, Peter Swift, and Candace Stewart and her husband, Randy, all of Barre; grandchildren Kerri Hull and her husband, Cary, Brian Allain and his companion, Julie Barclay, Joshua Stewart and Holly Stewart, all of Barre; great-grandchildren, Monica, Madelyn and Ava; a sister, Joyce Isham, of Barre; a sister-in-law, Susan Swift, of Glover; many nieces and nephews.
Besides his parents, he was predeceased by a grandson, Devin Richard Swift, and three brothers, Dwight Swift, Ken Swift and Alan Swift.
His memorial service and life celebration will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2013, at 10 a.m. in the Barre Town Middle and Elementary School in Websterville. Family and friends may call at the Hooker and Whitcomb Funeral Home, 7 Academy St., Barre, on Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Later interment will be made in the Brook Haven Cemetery in Orange.
Contributions in Dick’s memory may be made to the Dick Swift Scholarship Fund, Barre Town Middle and Elementary School, c/o Timothy Crowley, Principal, 70 Websterville Road, Barre, VT 05641.
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