Kenneth W. Swisher, age 86, of Merrimack, NH, formerly a long-time resident of Wilmington, MA, died unexpectedly at home on March 16, 2015.
He was born on November 13, 1928, in Dowagiac, Michigan; he was the beloved son of the late Clarence and Rena (Thor) Swisher. Raised and educated in Dowagiac he was a graduate of Dowagiac High School. Following graduation, Ken enlisted in the United States Navy during World War II. He served overseas and was in the Mediterranean in July of 1947 during the Exodus. Ken was honorably discharged in October of 1949.
While on leave in the Boston area, Ken was introduced to his “sweetheart” Joan Brown by his fellow shipmate, Jim Rizzo, who would later become his brother-in- law. Following a whirlwind courtship the couple married on September 4, 1950. Ken and Joan lived in Michigan for a short period of time following their wedding but returned home to Massachusetts; settling in Wilmington in 1955 where they raised six wonderful children.
Family was very important to Ken; he was a very devoted husband, father, and grandfather. Ken worked hard for his family and enjoyed every moment they spent together. He beamed with pride as he talked of his children and grandchildren and of all the things that they had accomplished.
Ken was known to be a “jack of all trades” around the house; he showed his talents as a carpenter and mechanic amongst other things; there wasn’t anything he couldn’t fix. He was always willing to help out not only his family but neighbors as well.
Ken and Joan enjoyed being “snow birds” spending their winter months in Florida until 1993 when Ken finally retired from the business he established with his brother-in-law, Bob Valentine, ValKen Machine Products, when they moved there year round. It was at this time that he took an interest in golf and at the age of 68 he became quite a golfer. Ken also became quite active in the Lions Club in Florida where he volunteered countless hours to help others.
He was a people person and loved to experience new places and meet new people. Ken and Joan traveled all over the United States including several trips to Alaska and Hawaii. They also took many cruises and lots of vacations with their family and friends throughout the years; everyone always had a great time when traveling with Ken and let’s not forget about the infamous trip to Sturgis, South Dakota during biker week, that story will be told for many years to come.
In 2005 Ken and Joan returned to New England and moved to Merrimack, NH so they could be closer to their children and grandchildren.
In his spare time, Ken enjoyed watching his favorite television series and political talk shows. He was always up for a good debate about politics and was not afraid to let you know his views. Ken also enjoyed going to the movies, working out at the gym and dining out with his family and friends.
Ken will be fondly remembered for his great sense of humor, his love of family, and for always helping others in need. Ken was an all-around “great-guy” who will be truly missed by all who knew and loved him.
Ken was the beloved husband of 62 years of the late Joan F. (Brown) Swisher, devoted father of Jane T. Cannizaro and her husband Richard of Wilmington, Timothy M. Swisher and his wife Janet of Merrimack, NH, Robert M. Swisher and his wife Patricia of Newbury, MA, Stephen M. Swisher and Paula Crete of Derry, NH, Louise J. DePiano and her husband John of Burlington, and the late James J. Swisher. Dear son of the late Clarence and Rena (Thor) Swisher, brother of the late Winona Brewer, Alice Howard, Maurice, Burdette and John Swisher. He was the brother-in-law of Elizabeth Rizzo of Weymouth, Patricia and Robert Valentine of Peabody, and predeceased by James Rizzo of Weymouth and Eleanor and William Rizzo of Braintree.
Ken is also survived by 18 grandchildren, 19 great grandchildren, and many nieces, nephews, and friends.
Family and friends will gather at the Nichols Funeral Home, Inc., 187 Middlesex Ave. (Rte. 62), Wilmington on Friday, March 20th for Visiting Hours from 3-7 p.m. Immediately followed by a Funeral Service at 7:00 p.m. Interment will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations in Ken’s memory may be made to the Pine Street Inn, 444 Harrison Avenue, Boston, MA 02118 or to Children’s Hospital, 401 Park Drive, Ste. 602, Boston, MA 02215