Gordon Paul Swoyer Jr., 84, died on May 27, 2019 (Memorial Day), in his home in San Antonio after a long battle with lung-related illnesses.
Mr. Swoyer, Gordie, Papa, Dad or Grandpa was born on November 11,1934 (Veterans Day) in Reading, PA to Gordon Paul Swoyer, Sr. and Emma Louisa Lengel Swoyer who each preceded him in death.
It is altogether fitting and right that he was born on Veterans Day and died on Memorial Day because Gordie lived a life full of service, service to his family, his country and his God.
After graduating from high school in Reading in 1953, he spent four years in the Navy Reserve but ultimately joined the United States Air Force which started twenty years of serving America as an airman. While stationed at Ellsworth AFB in Rapid City, SD, he met and married on November 30, 1957, the love of his life Delores, “Dee” Madill.
Throughout his career in the Air Force, Gordie and Dee travelled the world and built a family. Their first daughter, Karen Ann was born in Rapid City but sadly died a few hours later. From that sad event, they moved on to Torrejón AFB in Madrid, Spain, where their second daughter Julie Ann was born. At KI Sawyer AFB in Upper Michigan, their first and only son Gordon Paul Swoyer III (“Paul”) was born. During a first tour at Lackland AFB, their third daughter Jana Louisa was born. During the Vietnam War, Gordon was sent to the Philippines in 1967 before the birth of his fourth daughter, Jessica Marie. She was born at Ellsworth AFB in SD. Then Delores and the four children traveled to Clark AFB to join Gordie while he served in the record section pertaining to the Vietnam War. Returning to San Antonio in 1969, he served as a classroom instructor for basic trainees at Lackland AFB.
In 1974, Gordie was away from the family for a year serving a remote tour in Thailand. After returning, he finished out his military service at Lackland AFB in San Antonio retiring with the rank of Technical Sergeant in 1976.
After his retirement, he attended and graduated from Texas State University where he earned a BS in education in 1979. He then became an elementary school teacher (5th grade and later a science teacher for grades kinder through fifth). He retired in 2002 from Southwest ISD where his daughter, Jana, continued on with the tradition and now the third generation, Kasey, is also a teacher in SWISD.
Gordie loved to travel, to eat great food and to hunt and fish. However, most of all he loved his family and his church family. After moving to their present address, he became very active in the church at Southside Baptist. He was a Deacon and was respected and loved by all.
He will be missed by so many that he touched, trained and taught – especially his wife Delores of 61 years, his children: Karen, Julie, Paul, Jana and Jessica; their husbands and wives, his 12 grandchildren and his 10 great grandchildren.
His extended family includes his sisters Beverly Greenwalt who died tragically in 2017 and Nancy Schell (Butch) who lives in Reading, PA; his nieces and nephews and his many, many friends are all better for having had him in their lives.
In the 30,879 days of his life, Gordie lived a full and eventful life that included his contribution to and witnessing of many memorable events, including playing against Wilt Chamberlain in basketball, attending games at Yankee Stadium, dancing on American Bandstand, attending Broadway plays, seeing his future wife skate up to the car at the A&W Root Beer stand in Rapid City, SD., seeing five children come into this world (well, at least waiting in an outer room while that happened), seeing hundreds of airmen and students learn from his tough but loving way, watching countless Cowboys football games and seeing three of their Super Bowl wins in person, enjoying the Les Mis musical on stage in London, seeing his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren be baptized and growing old with his first love.
Lastly, we are encouraged, that after his life of service, Gordie can now rest quietly as one asleep in Jesus until the final call of God when he will rise with his fellow believers to join his Savior in the air and be with the Lord forever.
The services were held on June 7 at 11 a.m. at Southside Baptist Church
The interment will be held on June 18 at 10:30 a.m., at Ft Sam Houston.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that a donation be made to the Gordon Swoyer Building fund at his church, Southside Baptist at 2010 S. Loop 1604, E. San Antonio, Texas 78264.