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This Week

George D. Swank


FORT WAYNE, Ind.-Many of you have met my father ... you would recognize him as the “whistling man’’ at the grocery store, or as the “man with the handlebar mustache’’ or as the “wine man’’. My father passed away Memorial Day May, 25, 2009, this year. It is somewhat fitting that this World War II veteran will bring new meaning of this day for our family and friends.

George D. Swank was our father. He was born April 12, 1927. George met our mother, Ruth D. Swank, at a dance in high school. She used to say that he was “a school girl’s catch’’ although I am not quite sure who caught who.

He is survived by many wonderful kids ... at least that is what they will tell you about themselves. They include: sons, Jan (Jill) Swank, and Tyler Swank, of South Dakota, son, Bradd (Claudia), and Devon Swank of Oregon; son, Randy (Annette), Aris, Jessica, and Haley Swank, Auburn, Ind.; daughter, Georgia (Steve Weickert) Swank, Cory and Logan Swank-Wallace of Louisville, Ky.; son Kurt (Karie), Austin and Garrison Swank of Connecticut.

George earned a Master’s Degree from Purdue University in Industrial Management, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Education.

His work experience started when he enlisted in the military. He was a Technical Instructor in the Air Force Communications School at Scott Air Force Base. He moved to Ft. Bliss,Texas, where he became the Lead Engineer and established a technical writing facility for Technical Operations Section of Government Service Division. He held a government security clearance of “secret’’. Later in his career, George worked for RCA, ITT, BOMARC, Farnsworth Electronics, and MEMCOR where he supervised field work with communications, radar, fire control systems, signal simulation systems, and automatic test equipment.

There were several interesting people that George met, was acquainted with, and worked with over the years. One of these was Wernher Von Braun (German Scientist recruited after World War II). Another was Philo T. Farnsworth (the inventor of the television) who lived in Fort Wayne, Ind. We always told him that he should write a book about his life, but no one could read his hand writing!. It wouldn't be fitting if we didn’t share a story or two about George Swank. He once threw a full paint brush at my brother off of the top of a ladder. Fortunately it missed; unfortunately it landed inside the driver’s door window of the 1969 white Pontiac. I never met anyone as fast at the short sprint as George ... he ran a 100-yard sprint faster than I have ever seen. George imported and sold wine; "never liked the taste of it''. George used to be a "Gandy Dancer''. Before you get any ideas of what this is, look it up. These were the teams that drove the railroad spikes ... one guy holding while the other swung the gandy-hammer.

Dad ... we will miss you and want you to know that we love you. We are independent because of you, are successful because of you, and will cherish the fond memories you have provided us.

One bit of bad news, "Mom is going to want a full explanation as to what you have been doing when you see her.''

A memorial service was held Friday, May 29, 2009, in D.O. McComb and Sons Lakeside Park Funeral Home, 1140 Lake Ave., Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Burial was in Greenlawn Memorial Park.

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