Robert D. Swanson, 76, of Upper Deerfield, formerly of Vineland, passed away on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, after a brief illness.
Born in Vineland to the late Walter G. and Charlotte (Bishop) Swanson, he was a graduate of Vineland High School, Class of 1954. Bob briefly attended Trenton State College before serving in the U.S. Army from 1955-57. During this time, he was stationed on the Nike Missile Defense System.
In 1958, Bob went into partnership with his father, Walter, and founded Swanson Hardware Supply in Vineland. Owning and operating the store for nearly 55 years with his father and children was the love of Bob's life. He also was very active in the Vineland community, having given so unselfishly and quietly his time and commitment to many organizations and causes.
In the Boy Scouts, Bob was a former Cubmaster, assistant Scoutmaster and member of the board of directors (Southern N.J. Council). He was the Boy Scouts chairman of the Cumberland County Boy Power Dinner and also chairman for the Strategic Planning Council. Bob served on the Explorer Division Committee and the Capital Campaign Committee of the Boy Scouts.
Bob was a former board of director and member of the Vineland Chamber of Commerce, American Red Cross, Cumberland County Chapter and also the Greater Cumberland County Chapter of the United Way. Here he served as the assistant chairman with their annual fundraising campaign. As a former board of director with the Vineland YMCA, he was a board treasurer, a trustee and the past president of the Y Men's Club. Bob had served as the board secretary for Newcomb Hospital Health Services and the chairman of the annual fundraising campaign for the Hospital Foundation. Most recently, he served on the Board of Directors for Century Savings Bank, the Siloam Cemetery Association and the Cumberland County College Foundation. He was an active member at the First United Methodist Church and served on the Pastor-Parish Relations Committee.
Bob earned many honors throughout his life of service to others. In 1988, he was honored as the Citizen of the Year of Vineland. Being an active member of the Vineland Rotary Club, Bob received the Vocational Service Award, the Outstanding Rotarian Award, the Director of the Year Award, and the President's Award. He also received the Clara Barton Award for Volunteer of the Year with the American Red Cross as well as being honored as the 7th Annual Citizen of the Year by the Southern N.J. Council Boy Scouts.
Bob had many special interests throughout his life. He enjoyed swimming, sailing, boating, skiing and playing tennis. He loved the beach, and loved more than anything spending time with his family and friends. Bob was a passionate master woodworker and enjoyed collecting antique tools, and driving his 1953 Mercury.
Bob is survived by and will be sadly missed by his loving friend Patti Laws of Sewell; his three loving sons, Bruce, Wayne and Russell Swanson, all of Vineland, and their mother Anne (Bechtold) Sperling of Millville; his two brothers, Ronald Swanson and wife Sylvia of Palmyra, Pa., and Richard Swanson and wife Barbara of St. Paul, Minn; and by many nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family.
The funeral service will be held on Tuesday at 11 a.m. in the First United Methodist Church of Vineland, 700 E. Landis Ave. Vineland. Burial will follow in Siloam Cemetery. Family and friends may gather on Monday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Wainwright-Bernhardt Funeral Home, 1024 E. Landis Ave., Vineland, and also on Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m. at the church.
In lieu of flowers, donations in memory of Bob may be made to the First United Methodist Church, 700 E. Landis Ave., Vineland, NJ 08360; or the
, P.O. Box 11454, Alexandria, VA 22312.
Please visit www.wbfuneralhome.com to send condolences to the family.