Donald Dewitt Swift


Rev. Dr. Donald Dewitt Swift. Family will welcome friends from 5-8pm Sunday, May 5, 2019 at Schoedinger Northeast Chapel, 1051 E. Johnstown Rd., Gahanna, OH 43230 as well as on Monday, May 6, 2019 from 10-11am at Mifflin Presbyterian Church, 123 Granville St., Gahanna, OH 43230 where a service, celebrating Don's 95-year life, will begin at 11:00am; interment at Forest Lawn Memorial Gardens followed by a luncheon at Mifflin Presbyterian Church.
Don died on Thursday, 2 May 2019 and joins his beloved wife in Heaven, Virginia Rose Wach Swift who died on 10 Oct 2003. A World War II Navy veteran, preacher, and friend, but most of all, an amazing dad, grandpa, uncle, and beloved husband.
Don was born on 11 Dec 1923 in Lasalle, IL, the ninth of 11 children--10 boys and 1 girl--of Charles Clyde Swift (1877-1952) and Olive Vine Yendow Swift (1882-1964). He is survived by his brother Jack Swift (Linda), who lives in Torrence, CA.
In 1930, at the age of 6, Don's family moved from Illinois to Los Angeles, CA where Don was active in athletics, theater, and served as a tennis ball boy for such greats as Bill Tilden and Helen Moody. He graduated from Hollywood High School in 1942, where he was an excellent athlete and a Yell Leader for the football team. Soon after graduation, he enlisted in the Navy and served as a radio/gunner in the South Pacific during World War II.
In 1944, he entered the Navy Chaplain program at the College of the Pacific, graduating in 1946. At Pacific, he was a varsity basketball and tennis player, captain of both teams, very active on campus, and a good friend of the actress Janet Leigh.
In 1946, he entered Princeton Theological Seminary where he met his future wife Virginia, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of Wooster in Ohio and a student at the Seminary. They fell in love and were married 5 Jun 1948 in Princeton, NJ.
Don graduated from Princeton in 1949, was ordained on 14 Jul 1949 as a Presbyterian minister, and faithfully served the following churches: First Presbyterian in Titusville, NJ (1949-1954), Fleming Memorial Presbyterian in Fairmont, WV (1954-1957), Emmanuel Presbyterian in Erie, PA (1957-1964), Mifflin Presbyterian in Gahanna, OH (1964-1976), and Westwood First Presbyterian in Cincinnati, OH (1976-1989), where he retired and was honored as Pastor Emeritus.
In 1979, he earned his Doctor of Ministry from Trinity Lutheran Seminary in Bexley, OH. For the next 20 years after "retirement," Don served as interim pastor at central Ohio Presbyterian churches in Columbus (Shady Lane and Eastminster), Pataskala, Groveport, and Reynoldsburg.
He most recently enjoyed a very active retirement at The Worthington and at Three Creeks in Gahanna, OH. The family extends a special thank you to the staff at St. Ann's Third Floor Palliative Care, New Albany Wesley Woods and Mount Carmel Hospice, especially Michele Ware, for the excellent care they provided these last few weeks.
He is survived by his daughter Jennifer Swift Block (Art) and son Dan Swift (Tracy), seven grandchildren: Daniel & Megan Block, Rachel Swift Smith (Steve), Nathan Swift (Kelsey), Rebecca Swift, Emily Swift Hunt (Kevin), and Ian Golding (Jillian); seven great grandchildren; Jake (Laura), Mia, Anna, and Jack Smith, James and Sullivan Hunt, and Isaac Swift; as well as by his dear friends Ruth Tantum of Trenton, NJ, Carolyn Kellenberger of Rapid City, MI, and Maxine Schwartz of Gahanna.
Don enjoyed all sports, especially tennis and was an avid Cincinnati Reds fan. Don enjoyed about 25 cruises including many on which he served as Chaplain.
He also enjoyed several trips to Europe, the Holy Land, Hawaii, Alaska, and an annual trip to Branson, MO, as well as many visits to California, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, New Jersey, and Michigan to visit his many siblings, scores of nieces and nephews, as well as many dear friends.
Don touched everyone he met with his friendly smile, engaging stories, silly jokes, and enthusiasm to live life to its fullest. He will be missed.
In lieu of flowers, the family has suggested memorial gifts to Mifflin Presbyterian Church, 123 Granville St., Gahanna, OH 43230. Visit to share memories or extend condolences.
Published on May 5, 2019
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1 posts

George Snider
May 05, 2019
Don probably increased the Fleming membership to its largest congregation ever. I grew up in the Fleming Church with teachers such as Mike Snoderly, Gail Barnes and Herb Fetty doing their best to keep several of we Edgemont juveniles on the right path......The Korean war had ended and the Navy sent me back to a Corpus Christi Naval Air station. On the way to Texas, Don married one Martha Tucker and me, and we spent the remainder of my tour of duty in Texas.. Don was one special servant of God. I am sorry he is gone, but he is now at home where ever heaven is located. And all is well. I envy GOD..........gas