Oscar Morris Swofford, Jr., 85, died from prostate cancer Thursday, Nov. 10 at the Hospice Care Center, St. Joseph Hospital.
Like his cherished wife Joy before him, he far outlived his predicted survival time, treating his battle with cancer like he tackled any other problem in his life: a new challenge to be cheerfully confronted but never dwelt upon. Notorious for never complaining, he continued to merrily respond "I'm doing fine--still kicking!" until the end.
He was born in Richmond on August 5, 1931. He graduated from Model Laboratory School in 1949, where the "lanky Morris Swofford" (as he was dubbed in press clippings) became a star on the basketball team. He then enrolled at the University of Kentucky where he was a member of the ROTC. After graduating with a degree in Electrical Engineering in 1954, he was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force, stationed in Anchorage, Alaska. After completing his service in 1956, he was hired by IBM and worked in Poughkeepsie, New York, before being transferred to Lexington in 1957. He commuted from his hometown of Richmond for 7 years before moving to Lexington in 1964. He received an award from IBM for developing the now ubiquitous half-globe safety mirror, retiring in 1990.
A talented do-it-yourselfer and lifetime learner, he enjoyed many pastimes and hobbies, including gardening, playing bridge, visiting new places, hiking, antique car restoration, holiday decorating and craft making. After retirement, he became an obsessive Sudoku player. He was generous and unselfish not only with his money, but more importantly with his time. He threw himself into every activity, whether helping with science fair projects, chaperoning band activities, participating in missionary trips, caring for elderly relatives, building Habitat houses, and contributing to the the life of his church. He was very much a "people person", but quiet and humble in nature —always preferring to let others shine rather than drawing attention to himself. As anyone who has spent time with him knows well, he was a delight to be around, always content and agreeable in any setting or situation.
He was intensely devoted throughout his life to his wife of 57 years, Joy Lee Swofford, who died in 2010. He is survived by: his two daughters Ann (John) Cranfill, of Lexington, and Morrissa (Jeff) Hayes, of Mt. Vernon; and his son David (Debra Murray), of Durham, NC. He was closely engaged in the lives of his three grandchildren, Scott Cranfill, Meredith Cranfill Oyer, and Ryan Cranfill, as well as their spouses and significant others Avila, Matthew, and Danielle, respectively. He was preceded in death by his only sister, Martha Swofford McDavitt.
The family wishes to express its appreciation to the many friends and health-care workers who made his last months more comfortable and enjoyable, including Lauren Hayes, Illa Thurmond, and Adrena James, as well as many others associated with his last home at Morning Pointe and with Hospice Extra Care.
A memorial service will be held at Hunter Presbyterian Church (109 Rosemont Garden, Lexington, KY 40503) at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 14, conducted by Jason Santalucia. Friends may visit at Milward-Southland (391 Southland Dr. Lexington), on Sunday, Nov. 13 from 4-6 p.m. Memorial gifts may be made to Hunter Presbyterian Church, Hospice of the Bluegrass (2312 Alexandria Drive, Lexington KY 40504), or the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (800 S. Limestone Street, Lexington KY 40536-0230). www.milwardfuneral.com
Published on November 11, 2016