Raymond “Ray” Willis Swift, age 89 and lifelong resident of Edinboro, passed away Wednesday, January 29, 2014 at the Edinboro Manor. He was born in Columbiana, Ohio on October 21, 1924 to the late George W & Opal B Sherwood Swift. Also, son of the late Helen Walts Swift.
He proudly entered into the U.S. Navy to serve our country during WWII. He was a third class boilermaker upon the USS MacKenzie DD614. During his tour of duty, he received the European Theater Ribbon, American Theater Ribbon and the Victory Medal. He was honorably discharged in 1946.
After being discharged from the Navy, he purchased a canned milk route, and he hauled milk for a few years before going to work at Penn Brass and Copper. During this time, Ray and his wife started their dairy farm, which they owned and operated for 34 years prior until their retirement in 1988. Additionally, while in the start-up phase of farming, he was an owner/operator for Service Transport. He loved country living, his dairy farm and the hard work that goes along with farming. After retiring, he continued to work by being employed by the Franklin Township Municipal Building and also the General McLane School District as a bus driver. His students brought him much joy.
He was a member of the Franklin Township United Methodist Church and also the International Order of Odd Fellows for Men.
He was a man gifted with the intellect, ability and tenacity to do just about anything he put his mind to. He was happiest when he was with family and friends, making everyone laugh. He was a devoted husband, father, grandfather and friend. He worked hard his entire life to provide for his family. He was a good man, a practical man – a man who’s handshake was worth more than a signed document. He epitomized the “Greatest Generation”.
Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by a grandson, three brothers and one sister.
Survivors include his wife of 64 years, Edith Swift whom he married on October 22, 1949. Also surviving are four sons: Dennis Swift, wife Linda of Edinboro, Danny Swift, wife Betty of Waterford, Robert Swift of Sidney, North Dakota and Roger Higby, wife Cindy of San Jose, California. One daughter, Debbie Swift of Edinboro. He is further survived by several grandchildren and great grandchildren; a brother, Fred Swift and his wife Linda of Edinboro, a sister, Audrey Walts Adams of Edinboro, Richard Coppock of South Carolina, many brothers- and sisters-in-law, nieces and nephews and longtime neighbor and friend, Brent and Darlene Salhoff.
Friends will be received on Saturday, February 8, 2014 at the Franklin Center United Methodist Church from 10:00 a.m. until the time of the funeral at 12:00 noon. Pastor Denny Belknap Sr. will officiate with burial and committal service to follow at Draketown Cemetery with full military honors.
Memorial donations may be made to the Franklin Township Volunteer Fire Department, 7455 New Rd, Edinboro, Pa. 16412, Central Erie County Paramedic Association, P.O. Box 162, Edinboro, Pa. 16412, Franklin Center United Methodist Church, 7471 Old State Rd, Edinboro, Pa. 16412 or The Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, Ks. 66675.