Vincent George Swinney (1934 - 2012)

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Vincent George Swinney

December 28, 1934

November 20, 2012

Vincent George Swinney passed away on November 20, 2012 with family by his side. Vince was born on December 28, 1934 to Vincent and Helen Swinney of Eugene, OR. The family moved to Medford where he enjoyed exploring the hills with his bother Dick.

Vince joined the Oregon National Guard while still in High School prior to enlisting in the U.S. Air Force. In 1955, he was stationed in Nevada at Stead Air Force Base as a Survival Instructor. It was then that he met and married Carolyn Sandra Groves and began working on his degree at the University of Nevada, Reno.

He began his law enforcement career with the Reno Police Department in January of 1959. Primarily a juvenile officer, he also worked as a Special Investigator for the District Attorney. He took a 2 year leave of absence during this period to complete graduate studies in Criminal Justice at Michigan State University. He resigned from the department in 1969 and began serving on the Faculty at the University of Nevada, Reno where he was responsible for getting the curriculum approved for the Associates Degree in Criminal Justice.

In 1971 he joined the Washoe County Sheriff's Department as the Undersheriff to Bob Galli. After twelve years as Undersheriff he was elected Sheriff of Washoe County, which he served for 3 terms. When first elected, an agency of 67 employees with a budget less than $100,000 grew under Vince's management to 510 employees and a $36,000,000 budget. One of Vince's many accomplishments as sheriff was the 1988 opening of the new detention facility; one of only three in the United States to reach triple accreditation.

In addition to Vince's professional service he also volunteered much of his time to our community. He was a member and co-founder of the Washoe County Search and Rescue and Hasty Teams, a member of Rotary, an active leader in the Boy Scouts, member of the Reno Rodeo Association, (president 1982) and an Elder at First Christian Church.

Vince retired from the Washoe County Sheriff's Department in 1995 and continued to enjoy life as a devoted spouse, father and grandfather. He was preceded in death by Carolyn his wife of 52 years. Along with volunteering with the Reno Rodeo, Vince enjoyed making toys for local children as a member of the Woodchucks, fishing and playing poker with his closest friends.

Vince is survived by his brothers Gene Glazier and Dick Swinney (Kerry), sister Peggy Tracey, his daughter Crystal S. Woods (John), sons Vincent F. Swinney and Darren N. Swinney, and grandchildren Jessica and Ellen Woods, Elizabeth and Tanner Swinney and Alison Swinney.

Vince spent his life in service to his country and our local community. He was an easy man to respect.

Services will be held at Mountain View Mortuary, 425 Stoker Ave., Reno on Friday, November 30, 2012 at 1pm.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Reno Rodeo Foundation, Washoe County Sheriff's Search and Rescue or Hasty Teams.

Arrangements have been entrusted to Ross, Burke and Knobel Mortuary. We invite you to leave a condolence in the "Book of Memories" at


Funeral Home
Mountain View Mortuary
425 Stoker Avenue Reno, NV 89513
(775) 788-2199
Funeral Home Details
Published in Reno Gazette-Journal from Nov. 25 to Nov. 28, 2012
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