Charles Raymond Swinton, 89
Charles Raymond Swinton, age 89 of Nashua, died Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at the 11th Street Chautauqua Guest Home in Charles City.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, 2019, at St. Michael’s Catholic Church, Nashua, with the Rev. Gary Mayer celebrating the Mass.
Interment will follow in St. Michael’s Cemetery.
Friends may greet the family from 4 to 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, at the Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory/Olson Chapel in Nashua. Visitation will continue the following morning from 9 to 10 a.m. at the funeral home.
Charles Raymond Swinton was born May 27, 1930, in rural Chickasaw County, on the family farm outside Nashua. He was the ninth child born to H.G. and Nellie (Wright) Swinton.
He helped his parents on the farm and attended country school before attending Nashua High School, where he played football and graduated with the Class of 1948. After high school, he farmed and grew … shooting up to 6-foot-4-inches tall.
In 1951, he joined the U.S. Navy and served as a cook on two ships — the USS Hamul, a destroyer, and the USS Bayonne, a Tacoma-class frigate, both of which supported American forces fighting in the Korean War.
Charlie, as everyone called him, especially loved making breakfasts, and years later, his kids were in awe as they watched their dad crack six eggs at a time.
A year before joining the Navy, he asked Rita Popes, who was a year behind him in high school, to go to a “show” in Charles City, and the two hit it off immediately.
On March 31, 1951, they were married at St. Michael’s Catholic Church in Nashua, and the couple eventually welcomed three children — Linda, Curt and Clair — to the family. Charlie was the kind of father who when he said something, he meant it, but he also loved to tell jokes and play tricks on those he knew well. He had an offbeat sense of humor — one that led him to place a sign at his home that reads, “On this site in 1897 nothing happened.”
The Swintons farmed, and in 1964, he went to work for Oliver Tractor, which later became known as White Farm Equipment, and his friends at the plant swear that Charlie was the best crane operator the plant ever had.
When White closed its doors for good on July 31, 1993, Charlie retired, did a little farming, raised some calves and, along with his friend Denny Burnett, raised a ton of tomatoes. He was proud of the fact that one of his club calves was named grand champion at the Mitchell County Fair.
Charlie loved his wife and their children, but he adored his four grandsons and the pride he had for Matthew, Micahel, Erik and Andrew knew no bounds. He never tired of telling his buddies how well they turned out and how successful they were.
He liked sports, and he always rooted for the Iowa Hawkeye football team, and he was a member of the VFW, St. Michael’s Catholic Church and the church’s Cemetery Board, but he used to joke that “any club that would have me as a member probably is not a club.”
In his younger days, Charlie also golfed, although he’d be the first to admit that he was better on the “19th hole” than the 18 holes that came before.
He was a man’s man, and it was heartbreaking for his wife and family to see him suffer in his final months. His passing was a blessing, and Rita, Linda, Curt, Clair, those four grandsons and his six great-grandchildren and the balance of the family would rather remember the robust 6-foot-4, 240-pound man and the life he lived so well.
But they are also incredibly grateful for the care he received at the 11th Street Chautauqua Guest Home in Charles City, where he lived his final days. As Rita and Curt put it, the 11th Street Chautauqua caregivers all “have a place in heaven” for the compassion they showed both Charlie and the Swinton family.
Charlie is survived by his wife of 68 years, Rita; two sons, Curtis Swinton of Nashua, and Clair (Gale) Swinton of Oceanport, New Jersey; one daughter, Linda (Jeff) Angelucci of Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey; four grandsons, Matthew, Michael, Erik and Andrew Swinton; six great grandchildren, Hayden, Aubrey, Cole, Nolan, Clair J. and Elizabeth Swinton; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and eight brothers and sisters, Arthur (Alice) Swinton, Hattie (William) Dietz, Clyde (Leola) Swinton, Mary (Irvin) Dietz, Robert (Joyce) Swinton, Irene (Edward) O’Brien, Fred (LuAnn) Swinton, Merle (Richard) Bennett.