The Honorable Richard A. Swain, 80, of Mentor, passed away peacefully at Heartland Nursing Facility in Mentor on Feb. 18, 2014. He was surrounded by his loving family.
Dick was born Jan. 5, 1934, in Syracuse, N.Y. He was the second son of Ralph and Beulah (Rhodes) Swain.
Dick moved to Ithaca, N.Y., as a young child because his engineer father, who was employed by Bailey Meter Company, worked throughout New York State. It was at this time that Dick's father Ralph, bought nearly four acres of land in Big Moose Lake, N.Y., in the Adirondack Mountains. The family built a summer home or "camp" where Dick spent part of every summer for most of his life.
While living in Ithaca, Dick's mother enrolled him in kindergarten at the age of four and a year later the family moved to South Euclid. Dick attended South Euclid-Lyndhurst Schools. After completing 10th grade at Brush High School, his parents felt he needed more of a challenge. Dick was accepted at Mt. Herman Prep School in Northfield, Mass. He graduated in 1951 from what is now Northfield-Mt. Herman. Dick later joked that he and the actress Uma Thurman did have one thing in common…they graduated from the same prep school!
Dick returned to Ohio and attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. He graduated with a degree in political science in 1955. He began working for the American Express Company calling on accounts in central and southern Ohio.
At this time, he enrolled in law school and attended law school at night. Dick graduated from Capital University Law School, where he earned a doctor of jurisprudence degree.
Dick became the legal advisor for the Ohio State auditor in Columbus. At this time, Dick met and married Sandra Arter. Dick and Sandy began their family and had three children: Erik, Jill and Adam. Dick moved his young family to Mentor in 1971, where he joined the law practice of David Osborn, Marie Wing and Herb Baxter.
Dick was the Mentor Municipal judge from December 1975 through December 31, 2001, when he retired from the bench. He successfully won five elections in 1975, 1977, 1983, 1989 and 1995. He was the first judge in the state to order the immobilization of vehicles to keep dangerous drivers away from their cars.
Dick was a player-coach for the competitive volleyball team at the Columbus YMCA, which competed in national tournaments. He also coached volleyball at the Jewish Community Center in Cleveland Heights, and at the Willoughby YMCA for many years.
For many years he acted as judge in the mock trial competitions of high school students. The competitions were held at the Mentor Municipal Court. At least once, he was a judge at the National Mock Trial Competition.
An active member of Mentor United Methodist Church, he led over 15 annual youth mission trips mostly to impoverished areas in southern states where the groups would do home repairs for those unable to do so. Twice, he led groups to Indian reservations in New Mexico and South Dakota. He joined a mission work group in the Dominican Republic in 1998. For the more than 40 years he was a member, he served in many capacities as an usher, as a member of the administrative council, and most recently helping serve meals at the annual Thanksgiving Day community dinner.
Dick was honored as a 40-year member of Mentor Rotary, participating in a variety of activities. He received the distinguished Paul Harris Fellow Award.
Dick was also a member of the Mentor Schools Foundation from 1996 to 2005. He was a member of GYRO International, the Ohio Republican Party, the Lake County Republican Party, the Ohio State Bar Association, the Lake County Bar Association, the Big Moose Property Owners Association and the Big Moose Community Chapel.
Dick also succeeded in doing what only a few have done, which is to climb all 46 high peaks in the Adirondack Mountains. The mountains have an elevation of over 4,000 feet, making him what is called a "46'er."
Dick leaves behind his wife, Susan (Heyworth) (Hanson) of Mentor; brother, John Swain of Mentor; children, Erik (Beth) Swain of Lyndhurst, Jill (Mark) Kilpeck of Mentor and Adam (Jamie) Swain of Brecksville; and grandchildren, Mandy, Brian, and Natalie Swain, Lauren, Katy, and Owen Kilpeck, and Taylor and Morgan Swain. He also leaves behind his former wife, Sandy (Arter) Swain of Mentor.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph and Beulah Swain.
There will be a private burial at his summer home in Big Moose Lake, N.Y., in June, which was his desired final resting place.
The memorial service will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Mentor United Methodist Church, 8600 Mentor Ave., Mentor, OH 44060.
The family will receive friends from 3 to 7 p.m. Friday at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mentor United Methodist Church-Youth Service Project (see address above) or to Mentor Rotary, P.O. Box 1177, Mentor, OH 44061-1177.
Arrangements entrusted to Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral home and Cremation Center, 8466 Mentor Ave., Mentor.
Online obituary at
Published in www.News-Herald.com from Feb. 20 to Feb. 21, 2014
Brunner Sanden Deitrick Funeral Home & Cremation Center
8466 Mentor Avenue Mentor, OH 44060