Elvis E. Lee Swindle
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Former mayor of La Verne, Elvis Swindle, died August 29, 2012, his 94th birthday. He was born in Fontaine, Arkansas, to Elmer and Cordelia Swindle, the oldest of eight children. Following his graduation from high school, he became a farmer, then earned a teaching certificate and taught in a one room school house.
Elvis married Doris Willcoxson December 27, 1940. Doris helped Elvis on the farm and in the classroom. After raising a particularly good crop of cotton, they sold their belongings and headed to California in 1947, along with their two children, Peggy and Jim. They settled in La Verne to be near other family members and work in the citrus industry.
During the Korean War, Elvis worked long hours at Louds Machine Shop. He then began working in the insurance industry, selling life insurance. Always a risk taker, Elvis also owned an ambulance company, gas station, and several race horses, just to name a few of his small business endeavors. He eventually established a successful insurance agency in Montclair, California.
After serving on many committees in La Verne, Elvis decided to enter city politics. He was elected to the La Verne City Council in 1958 and dedicated the next twelve years to the city he loved so much. His most proud civic moment was being named mayor from 1968-1970.
Elvis was a charter member of Calvary Baptist Church in La Verne, acting as a deacon, treasurer, and Sunday School teacher for many years. He was also a long time member of the Lions Club and a proud Democrat.
Following his retirement at age 72, Elvis learned to play golf and enjoyed spending time with Doris at Sierra La Verne Country Club and Outdoor Resorts in Cathedral City, as well as traveling throughout the country. An avid reader, Elvis began each day by reading both the Los Angeles Times and Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, cover to cover.
His later years were spent quietly at his beloved home on Mt. Springs Ranch Road in La Verne, where he died peacefully, just as he wished. His faithful wife of almost 72 years, Doris, survives him. Other survivors include his three children: Peggy Rees (Jim) of Upland, Jim Swindle (Linda) of Century City, and Deborah Frick (Curtis) of La Verne. Five grandchildren and six great children also survive Elvis, as well as two sisters: Mary Fortenberry and Javene Coleman, both of Jonesboro, Arkansas. At the time of his death, Elvis was also survived by his brother, Bob Swindle, who died suddenly September 7, 2012.
A viewing will be held Friday, September 21, 2012, from 4:00-8:00. Funeral services for Mr. Swindle will be Saturday, September 22, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. Todd Memorial Chapel will host both events. Burial at La Verne Cemetery will follow the funeral.
Published in Inland Valley Daily Bulletin on Sept. 16, 2012