GREENVILLE, Pennsylvania (MyValleyTributes) – Ronald Alan Swartwood, born February 23, 1957, in Meadville, Pennsylvania, went home to be with his Lord and Savior on Friday, February 21, 2020, surrounded by family and friends following a year-long battle with stage IV pancreatic cancer. He was 62.
He began attending Meadville First Christian Church at two weeks of age, the beginning of his lifelong Christian service. He dedicated his life to God at a young age and discovered his love for music by singing in the church choir.
A graduate of Meadville HS in 1975, he played football and excelled in choir. Ron turned down an academic scholarship to Penn State to attend Cincinnati Bible college where he received a BA with a double major in Bible and Christian Ministries in 1979. He then continued his studies for a Master’s Degree in Theology. Ron was a member of the “The Watchmen,” a school sponsored quartet, the Chapel Choir, a school ensemble named “The King’s Men” and formed an independent quartet “First Love”, named for Revelations 2:4, an independent ministry.
Ron’s first ministerial position was as a summer aide at Penn Line Christian Church in Pierpont, Ohio, working with his mentor Dick Brown. “I have dedicated my life to church service because people need direction and guidance.” After graduation, Ron served as minister at the Sandy Lake Christian Church and was a key part of the merger with Carpenter’s Corners Christian Church to form Emmanuel Christian Church in Stoneboro, Pennsylvania. Most recently he was as an Elder at Jerusalem Christian Church, Greenville, Pennsylvania and adult Sunday school teacher. He was lovingly referred to as the “resident Bible expert.”
Ron was a lifelong learner. He poured hours each week into research to for his Sunday school lessons. He shared the love of hunting and fishing with his dad and they got to enjoy several trips together to Montana and Alaska. Ron was an avid Penn State sports fan and Pittsburgh Pirates fan and always took a group of friends along to the games. Ron enjoyed life! He loved people and his love for his Lord was infectious. Even during his battle with cancer he never stopped living, a valuable lesson he hoped to pass on to others. Known for his pranks, he proved you can be a Christian and still have fun! According to his wife, Diana, being married to Ron was always an adventure!
Ron actively supported local animal rescues, particularly Club Pet Adoption in Transfer, Pennsylvania, where he volunteered at fundraisers. He was also active with Greenville Relay for Life team INOT Givin’ In! named for his sister-in-law, Toni Morgan, who lost her battle with cancer 3 ½ years ago. His latest endeavor was to revitalize Deep Valley Christian Service Camp near Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania, where he attended as a kid, then served as a counselor and Dean. He brought his college friend, Rich Mullins, there during his weeks of camp, whose friendship changed the lives of the many campers.
Ron is survived by his wife, Diana (Morgan) Swartwood of almost 23 years and leaves behind three fur babies, Cody, Layla and Megan. His three siblings survive, Todd Swartwood (Cindy) of Fulton, New York, Kelle Harry (Edward) of Meadville and Omi Hawkins (Scott) of Conneaut Lake; a sister-in-law, Debra Dooley of Killeen, Texas and a brother-in-law, James Morgan, Jr. (Brenda) of Greenville, Pennsylvania. He has nine nieces and nephews and 26 great-nieces and nephews.
Ron was preceded in death by his parents, Ronald I and Norma Jean (Peden) Swartwood; his maternal grandparents, Harvey and Enod Peden; his paternal grandparents, Wayne and Hazel Swartwood and a great-nephew, Joshua Batray.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to either Deep Valley Christian Service Camp or the American Cancer Society, via the Greenville chapter of Relay for Life Hopefest, team INOT Givin’ In.
Calling hours will be held Tuesday, February 25, 2020, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Loutzenhiser-Jordan Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Inc., 366-368 S. Main Street, Greenville, Pennsylvania.
Calling hours also at the church on Wednesday, February 26 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. prior to the service.
Funeral service will be Wednesday, February 26, 2020, 11:00 a.m. at Emmanuel Christian Church, 4495 Greenville-Sandy Lake Road, Stoneboro, Pennsylvania, Rev. John Canon, officiating.
Burial will be in Shenango Valley Cemetery.