|July 12, 1920 - June 21, 2015
John David Swearingen, 94, longtime resident of Rogers, died Sunday, June
21, 2015 at Circle of Life Hospice in Bentonville, Arkansas.
He was born July 12, 1920 in Bentonville, the fourth and last child of Ira
David Swearingen and Edith Jessie Irelan Swearingen.
He grew up in Rogers, first on a farm just west of Dixieland and Walnut, and
then in the downtown area, where he lived for most of his life. John’s father
died when he was only seven, and he quickly learned important life lessons
from his widowed mother as she faced the Great Depression years with
meager resources…the necessity (and expectation) of hard work, the value of
money, and the power of self-reliance and resourcefulness. These became
guiding principles for him the rest of his life.
A 1938 graduate of Rogers High School, he played trumpet in the band, sang
in choral groups, and played football. He and a group of friends formed a
dance band, “Iggy’s Ramblers” and played at Bella Vista (Wonderland Cave)
and Silver Springs (Monte Ne), for “gas money.” He attended the University
of Arkansas and played in the Razorback Band, graduating with a chemistry
degree in 1942, and was employed by the Oklahoma Ordnance Works in a
defense (munitions) plant in Pryor, OK. On October 24, 1942, he married
his high school sweetheart, Betty Powell. They would be married 64 years,
and raised three sons.
John felt it was his duty join the war effort overseas during WWII even though
his work in the defense plant had exempted him from the draft, so he enlisted
in the Army in 1944, served in the 78th Infantry in France and Germany
during the Battle of the Bulge, and after the war, was assigned to the
Occupation Forces in Berlin for a year. After the war, he worked in a research
lab for lead mining in Joplin, then moved back to Rogers to take a sales
position with Shofner Office Supply, where he worked for 18 years and
formed long term relationships with customers throughout northwest Arkansas
and southwest Missouri.
He changed careers in the late 1960’s, first selling mutual funds, and then
joining A.G. Edwards as a broker in 1973, where he worked for 17 years,
retiring in 1990 at age 70 to care for Betty who was developing Alzheimer’s
disease. He remained her faithful caretaker until her death in 2006.
Few men are lucky enough to marry more than one high school sweetheart,
but John managed to do just that. After Betty passed away, John (at age 87!)
married another RHS ’38 classmate in 2007, Maizie Baker Coe. They
enjoyed six wonderful years together before she died in 2013.
John represented everything “great” about the Greatest Generation. He was a
self-made man who rose above the challenges of his day to become a
successful businessman, husband, and father. He understood personal and
fiscal responsibility, duty, honor, hard work, sacrifice, and loyalty. He was
patriotic and level-headed, a thinking man who embraced challenge. Always
active and interested in his community, he was a member of the Rogers Noon
Rotary Club, sang in the choirs of Central United Methodist Church and First
United Methodist Church for over 40 years, and was a supporter of the
museum and library. He helped organize and lead Boy Scout Troop 122 when
his sons were active members, and received the Silver Beaver Award for
volunteerism. He was recently dubbed the “Unofficial Mayor of 4th Street”
by his downtown neighbors, who have appreciated his years of tireless effort
to improve the neighborhood. Most important of all, he was the beloved
patriarch of his family.
John was preceded in death by his two wives, Betty and Maizie (who were, by
the way, close high school friends); by his brother Al Swearingen; and by his
two sisters, Ruth Terhune and Jean Gaylord. He is survived by his three sons
and their wives: David and Marilyn Swearingen, Jim and Nancy Swearingen,
Tom and Teri Swearingen; six grandchildren and spouses: Rachel Swearingen
Harris (Alan), Robert Swearingen, Rebecca Swearingen Hazlewood (J.
Michael), John Russell Swearingen (Lara), Scott Swearingen (Susie), and
William Swearingen (Melisa); by five great-grandchildren: Grant Harris,
Taylor Harris, Abigail Swearingen, John Patrick Swearingen, and Lucy Jane
Hazlewood; and by one niece and two nephews: Kathy Enslen, Stan Terhune,
and Joel Terhune.
The family is very grateful for the love and support received from the church
family and staff of Rogers First United Methodist Church, and commends the
entire staff at Circle of Life Hospice for their uncommon commitment to
excellent care for their patients and families. Thank you for making this
journey with us. An additional special thanks goes to the employees and
“regulars” at Wesner’s Grill in Rogers for their kind friendships with John.
Memorials may be sent to Circle of Life Hospice, 901 Jones Road, Springdale,
AR; the First United Methodist Church Endowment Fund, 307 W. Elm,
Rogers; the Boy Scouts of America, 1401 Old Greenwood Rd, Ft. Smith, AR
72901, or to the charity of your choice.
A Memorial Service will be held at 2:00PM, Wednesday, June 24th, at First
United Methodist Church, Rogers, with Pastors David Bentley and Sandi
Wanasek officiating. Visitation will be from 1:00PM until service time.
One of our most memorable evenings was hosting a dinner for John and
Maizie when they were newlyweds. Both were full of energy, enthusiasm and
plans for traveling. If I hadn't known better, I would have guessed that they
were in their 20s. Bill and I first met John at the A.G. Edwards office at the
mall. Only one broker had a private office so we were privy to lots of varying
advice and investing theories. John was unfailingly available, courteous, and
respectful. We treasured his friendship and extend our sympathy to the family
he was so proud of.
Mary Jo and William Schneider
Sue and I were saddened to read of Johns passing. There isn't space to list all
the ways he was a positive influence in our lives. We were very fortunate to
have known him, and benefited from his wisdom and experience. We will miss
this true gentleman.
Russ & Sue Beck
John Swearingen meant so much to me growing up in Rogers. I have many
wonderful memories of him and lessons learned from him. Love to all.
Sincere condolences to you all. Very few men leave this life with such a
powerful positive influence on so many lives. Swearingen is name synonymous
Joe Don and Kathryn Dickhut
So sorry to hear of John's death. He was so dear to us all at our ministry at
Rogers and a wonderful Christian man. Please know our thoughts and prayers
are with your family.
Rev. N. Wayne Clark
I'm sorry to have seen the sad news. I know anything I might say now is so
inadequate, but I do want the Swearingen family to know that they all are in
my thoughts at this time. Conrad N. Sawyer
So sorry for your loss. Your dad was a wonderful man, so warm and funny.
I always looked up to him. Teresa Brewer Mallette
It has been said that the most consummately beautiful thing in the universe is
the rightly fashioned life of a good person - - - and, in this case, a very good
My heartfelt condolences to the entire family. My interactions with John were
limited, yet all telling of a wonderful, joyous, marvelous, and inspiring
individual with immense reverence for life. He will be missed, but always
remembered. Michael Hazlewood
With deepest sympathy for your father's passing and gratefulness for his role in
helping build our town as I was a kid growing up.
My father, Bill Crum, always had such wonderful things to say about your dad.
Shery Crum Boyles
Copyright 2015 Stockdale-Moody Funeral Services, 2898 West Walnut, Rogers, Arkansas 72756 479-631-1353