Glenn Swisher

Glenn M. Swisher

Age 96, died peacefully in his home on Friday, July 20, 2012, after a brief period of limited activity during which he maintained his cheerful and engaging spirit and continued to enjoy the company and pleasure of his many friends.

Glenn was born in 1916 in Tab, Indiana, where he spent his boyhood on a farm. He was preceded in death by his parents Walter and Ruth Swisher. He graduated from Williamsport High School and subsequently attended International Business College in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, where he received a business degree in 1936. He then moved to Chicago where he started his business career with Swift and Company. He later moved to Indianapolis and accepted a position with Allison Division of General Motors. From 1943 until 1946 Glenn served in the United States Army and was stationed at Ft. Harrison and Camp Atterbury, attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

While in Chicago, he met his future wife, Mary. Glenn loved to recall the story of being required to discharge an errand in the apartment house where he lived; he was asked to make a delivery and, when he knocked on the door of the apartment above his, the door was answered by the young woman he instantly knew was to become the love of his life. To many of his friends he described this as the most fortuitous of the many events of good fortune that were to smile on the couple in the years ahead. Together, they traveled the world spreading the cheer of their love and friendship, and acquiring new friends at each moment of discovery. Those who survive remain Glenn's friends to this day and recall he and Mary as generous and loyal souls, and indispensable companions on the journey of life.

In 1946 he began his business career at Syndicate Glass, a distributor and manufacturer of store fixtures for the retail industry. Glenn was destined to become President of Syndicate Glass, and later its Chairman, CEO and majority shareholder. He retired in 1994. His years at Syndicate are best remembered through the numerous and steadfast friends who joined with him in the growth of the Company, and its success in the store fixture industry. Glenn often referred to these individuals as "his associates," but they were far more. Glenn and Mary treated each as a member of their family; they cared for them throughout any hardship and celebrated life's successes with them, always regarding each person as an enduring and essential participant in their shared success. Glenn leaves a treasure of such individuals behind, all of whom remember him as a fair and most honorable gentleman. He is remembered for his keen humor and humility, and his incessant desire to learn and partake of life's pleasures in the company of those who shared his determined good will toward others.

After Mary's death in 1999, Glenn found companionship and renewed love through his marriage to Molly Cox in 2001, lasting until the time of her death in 2011. Glenn is survived by his sons: Glenn M. Swisher, Jr. and Charles B. Swisher.

Glenn's life was marked by an exceptional degree of philanthropic activity. In 1980, his associates at Syndicate Glass endowed The Swisher Foundation in his honor. Dedicated to medical research and education, The Swisher Foundation has provided financial assistance to numerous Indiana educational institutions as well as to local and national organizations devoted to medical research, particularly the Mayo Clinic. In the years that followed, Glenn and Mary built on that endowment and permitted the Foundation to flourish. Glenn served as Chairman of the Foundation and was Chairman Emeritus at the time of his death. The Swisher Family gave unselfishly of their financial resources in the assistance of others. They viewed their success as enabling the opportunity to share with others less fortunate, and to the betterment of mankind. In 1990, Glenn was among several individuals awarded the honor of the designation of Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals. And in 2002, DePauw University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humanities Degree in recognition of his philanthropic spirit and achievements.

Glenn's gift of leadership and his ability to recognize and solve any problem led to his service on the Board of Directors of many community charitable and business organizations. Among them are: Noble Society; Ivy Tech Community College; United States Auto Club; Artistic Media Partners; Marion County Association of Retarded Citizens; United Way Audit Committee; Salvation Army Advisory Board; Permaglass, Inc; The National Association of Store Fixture Manufacturers; Associated Colleges of Indiana; Methodist Hospital Foundation and the Boy Scouts of America, Crossroads of America Council. Glenn served as a Member and Elder of Prentice Presbyterian Church and was a member of the North Park Masonic Lodge, and the Scottish Rite and Murat Shrine.

All who joined with Glenn in any activity marveled at his wit, good humor and insight. He was a master at unraveling the mystery of each human spirit and encouraging every person to discover individual resourcefulness and the pride of shared success attained in pursuit of a common goal. He was a sterling mentor to many and always extended his hand believing he was certain to encounter a new friend, and an individual to be valued for the remainder of his life. His unfailing good nature assured that he was seldom disappointed.

Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to Flanner & Buchanan, and calling will take place at the Broad Ripple Mortuary on Tuesday July 24, 2012, between the hours of 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM. A memorial service in memory of Glenn will be held at Second Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, July 25 at 11:00 AM. Memorial contributions may be made to Second Presbyterian Church or The Swisher Foundation, 7403 Brackenwood Circle, Indianapolis, Indiana 46260. The Swisher Family cares to recognize and thank Glenn's physicians at Mayo Clinic and in Indianapolis who contributed to making his last years so productive and enjoyable, and to also thank those who provided loving care during these recent years. His life was a greater pleasure because of your devotion to his welfare.


Published in the The Indianapolis Star on July 24, 2012