Larry David Swinford, age 74 of Fayetteville, TN passed away on December 15, 2019, at his residence surrounded by his loving family. Mr. Swinford was born on March 11, 1945, in Fayetteville, TN, to the late Hugh Patrick and Maydie Ruth Swinford. He was a 1963 graduate of Blanche High School. In 1968, he was drafted and served proudly in the United States Army with the 73rd Signal Battalion in Cam Ranh Bay, South Vietnam. After his military service, he worked for many years as a routeman and materials manager for ARATEX in Shelbyville, TN. Mr. Swinford served as Director of Materials and retired from the Surgery Center in Huntsville, AL in 2005.
He was a member of the Fayetteville First Baptist Church where he served as deacon, usher, van driver, kitchen crew, and member of the personnel committee. Mr. Swinford was always ready to help anyone in need and often used his many talents in carpentry to assist others. He found great pleasure in starting multiple projects on his farm that were usually completed with the “organizational assistance” of his wife. He was a member of the Carpenters for Christ, a group headquartered in Montgomery, Alabama. He shared his ministry by traveling across the Southeastern United States supporting other congregations as they built their sanctuaries. He was a member of the Gideons and shared his Christian testimony with many. Mr. Swinford was a Tennessee Advanced Master Beef Producer and enjoyed raising Black Angus and Black Baldie cattle with a focus on love and compassion, rather than acres and profit. He was a lifelong farmer and started his cattle herd at the tender age of five when his grandfather, Jesse Albert Shields (Gramps) took him to his barn in Shields Hollow (Moore County) and asked him to pick out a calf. He chose a Hereford and named it Pretty Calf. Pretty Calf remained a part of his herd until 1968 when she died while he served in Vietnam. That bloodline still lives on in his herd and his son’s cattle herds in northwest Georgia near Chattanooga, TN.
Larry and his wife enjoyed traveling the US and visited 45 of the 50 states. As much as he enjoyed their adventures, he was always ready for them to come to a close because he said “there’s no place like home”. Many of their trips included an annual visit to the Grand Ole Opry as he loved “real” country music vs contemporary and would gladly share his views, often unsolicited.
Larry and his wife enjoyed family get-togethers especially the annual Thanksgiving Day dinner where they hosted for 53 of the last 55 years, only missing 1968 due to his being in Vietnam and this year due to his declining health. He was proud of his family and enjoyed gathering them together for the annual Swinford family reunion they hosted at their home.
Mr. Swinford is survived by his loving wife of 55 years, Billie Kent Swinford; daughter, Angie Michelle Swinford (Jeff) of Nashville; son, David Cooper Swinford (Ashleigh) of Chattanooga, TN; his beloved grandchildren, Riley Margaret and William Cooper Swinford (and Wilbur the cat, who Grandpa loved to cat-sit); sister, Patricia (Sam) Brewton; aunt, Jessie Shields Luna; sister-in-law, Eveline Swinford; brother-in-law, Barry (Gabriela) Kent; sister-in-law, Ozelle (Norman) Whitelaw; nieces, Donna (Michael) Gulley; and Amanda (Andy) Burns nephews, Ryan Kent, Donald (Teri) Jones, Jr., Michael (Teri) Jones, Caleb (Rachel) Gulley, and Ethan (Savannah) Gulley. In addition to his parents, Mr. Swinford was preceded in death by his brother, James Alton Swinford.
Funeral services will be held at 1 PM on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, at Higgins Funeral Home with Bro. Edward Johnson and Dr. Jon Hathcock officiating. Burial will be in Stewart Cemetery. Visitation with the family will be from 5 PM until 8 PM on Tuesday, December 17, 2019, at Higgins Funeral Home.
Memorials may be made to the Edward Johnson Ministries, 232 Childress Rd., Fayetteville, TN 37334. Higgins Funeral Home is honored to be serving the family of Mr. Larry David Swinford.