Bob Swayne, age 88, passed away peacefully on Thursday, February 20, 2014, at Cherry Meadows Hospice in Appleton.
Bob was born on February 6, 1926, in Lincoln, Nebraska, to the late Sara Candy Swayne and Walter Elliott Swayne. He attended elementary school in Omaha, Nebraska, and Fargo, North Dakota. He graduated from Fargo Central High School in May of 1943.
In May of 1943, Bob enlisted in the United States Navy. He was a World War II veteran, having been on active duty from July of 1943 until May of 1946. While at Naval Station Great Lakes for boot camp, he performed with the nationally famous Blue Jackets Choir. Following boot camp, he attended Electrician’s Mate school at Great Lakes. Upon graduation, because he was top man of his class, he was selected for promotion to Petty Officer Third Class. He served aboard the USS Cincinnati (CL6), doing convoy and patrol duty in the Atlantic Ocean and into the Mediterranean Sea. After hostilities ended, he served aboard the USS Knudson (APD 101) operating between The Philippines and China.
After Bob was released from active duty, he remained active in the Naval Reserve. He was voluntarily recalled to active duty in 1947 to serve aboard the USS New Jersey for a goodwill tour of European ports. In 1948, he volunteered to serve aboard the USS Palau taking airplanes to Turkey. Unexpectedly, the Palau departed Turkey to join and assist the United Nations in evacuating Count Bernadotte’s truce team from Haifa, Israel to Rhodes, Greece. In January 1950, Bob was promoted to Ensign in the Naval Reserve.
In June of 1946, Bob enrolled at the University of Minnesota. He pursued a major in Political Science with a specialization in International Relations. He graduated in 1951. He was active in Minnesota politics from 1946 to 1950. In 1948 and 1949, he chaired the campus young Democrats. He served as a poll worker in Minneapolis for three years.
While attending the University of Minnesota, Bob met a young lady, Jean McWilliams, and fell quickly and deeply in love with her. He asked her to be his lifetime valentine, and she accepted. On June 30, 1950, Bob and Jean were married at the University Lutheran Chapel.
In January of 1952, Bob and Jean moved to the Washington, D.C. area where Bob worked for the United States Department of State as a Foreign Affairs Officer with the Point 4 Program. It was here that their first daughter, Jeanie, was born.
In 1953, Bob left the State Department and accepted a position in internal auditing with The Prudential Insurance Company of America. He and his family moved to Newark, New Jersey. He worked at Prudential offices in Newark, New Jersey and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their son, Dave, was born in Minneapolis. Their daughter, Carol, was born in New Jersey. In 1969, after 16 years in auditing and accounting systems work, Bob left Prudential.
He began working for Aid Association for Lutherans (now Thrivent Financial for Lutherans) as Assistant Auditor in June of 1969. At that time, he and his family moved to Neenah. Bob retired from AAL in 1988 as the Director of Field Audit. Professionally, Bob was a Certified Internal Auditor (CIA) and a Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU).
Bob was baptized into the Christian faith on December 18, 1955. Over the years, Bob served in many offices and on many boards in his church congregations.
Throughout his adult life, he was an active volunteer. He was a strong advocate for many justice issues, including civil rights, hunger and health care. He proudly participated in the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. He served as a poll worker in Neenah for 20 years. He also volunteered at the St. Joseph Food Program for 25 years.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Bob commanded a number of Naval Reserve units in New Jersey, New York and Wisconsin. He was the Wisconsin State Coordinator for the Naval Academy Information Program (NAIP) from July of 1970 until June of 1977. Bob retired as a Commander in July of 1976 and continued to serve as a volunteer in the NAIP.
Bob is survived by Jean, his wife of almost 64 years, his two daughters and sons-in-law, Jeanie and Stan Feavel of Appleton, Carol Swayne and Guy Hollingbury of Seattle, Washington, his son and daughter-in-law, Dave and Andrea Swayne, San Clemente, California, and his beloved granddaughter, Madison Swayne, of Los Angeles, California. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his grandmother, Clara Morford, and his special grandfather, Daniel Morford.
Visitation will be held on Saturday, March 1, 2014, from 9:00 to 11:00 a.m. at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church, 1140 Tullar Road, Neenah. The funeral service will begin at 11:00 a.m., followed by a luncheon.
In lieu of flowers, memorials have been established for St. Joseph’s Food Program and for Gloria Dei for a disability access fund for the handicapped.
Bob’s family appreciates the care he received from the following medical practitioners and their staffs during the later years of his life: Nurse Practitioners Habek and Turner, Dr. Hermans, Dr. Campbell, Dr. Rosculet, Dr. Phillips, Dr. Quinonus and Dr. Atassi, as well as the staff for the visually impaired at the Zablocki VA Clinic in Milwaukee and the medical staff at the Bradley VA Clinic in Appleton.
Bob’s family would like to thank our friends for their support and prayers during this difficult time, as well as Pastors Jon and Tabitha Gallatin and the members of Gloria Dei. We would also like to thank the staff and volunteers at Cherry Meadows Hospice for the exceptional care they gave to our husband and father.