Peter Swords
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Peter Emery Swords August 25, 2020 Peter Emery Swords died August 25, 2020 after a year-long struggle with lymphoma. Born on 7/11/49 in Callicoon, NY, he was predeceased by his parents, Rev. John E. Swords and Alison Moore Swords, and a younger sister Susannah Swords. He lives in the memories of four siblings – Mary, Marti, Sarah, and Andy; his wife, Diane; daughter Alicia (Tim); son, Sol (Eileen); two grandchildren, and many cousins, nieces, nephews and friends. Music and faith were instilled in him from childhood. Throughout their marriage of nearly 48 years, Peter and Diane enjoyed an inclusive circle of family and friends from a rich tapestry of cultures and faiths. At the same time, Peter took leadership roles at University United Methodist Church of Syracuse. He sang tenor in the UUMC choir and in the Syracuse Community Choir. His work for justice and peace grew in part from knowing his family's resistance to the Nazi regime in Germany. He fought for justice for children, immigrants, people in poverty, and our earth, through community organizations including Syracuse Peace Council, the Poor People's Campaign, University Methodist Church, and Syracuse Community Choir. Starting as a mechanic, he became a social worker, advocating for children and families throughout his 30-year career, retiring from Circare in 2019. His last big project, a video honoring resistance to nuclear weapons led by A-Bomb survivors, calls on us to end nuclear weapons before they end us. It reached an international audience on the 75th anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima. Peter fought traditional stereotypes of male power. His strength was the size of his heart, the range of people he cared for, and his willingness to be vulnerable. We will all live that much harder and fiercer to fill the void where Peter is no more. Donations in his memory may be made to Syracuse Peace Council, Syracuse Community Choir, or NYS Poor People's Campaign. Please sign the guestbook at syracuse.com/obits

Published in Syracuse Post Standard from Sep. 9 to Sep. 13, 2020.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by The Family
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27 entries
September 17, 2020
Peter is goodness and decency personified. His well-lived life was entirely too short.
Annette Oliva
Friend
September 15, 2020
Peter was a great soul and we will miss seeing you at church! Sending healing prayers & comforting hugs to the Swords family!
The Thebe-Ratala Family
September 14, 2020
He was a gift to all who knew him. UUMC Syracuse was blessed to have his membership. The world needs more like Peter Swords.
Doug Randall
Friend
September 13, 2020
So very sorry for your loss Diane. I know he was your true soulmate. What a beautiful meaningful life he had.
Donald Varn
Acquaintance
September 12, 2020
Dear Diane,
Peter was the essence of kindness to all he met, and that is how I’ll remember him from our time at University United Methodist Church. Somehow I thought he’d be around forever, doing good deeds and befriending God’s children. Together you reared two beautiful children who continue the work about which you both were passionate. May God grant you peace. And joy. And love. And comfort. Rachel Clark
Rachel Clark
Friend
September 11, 2020
Dear Diane, I am so saddened to read about Peter's death. Of course I know of his work fighting for peace and justice, but what I remember is sharing a word and a smile with him many times at the Volpert Center as he came to pick you up from work at Peace Action. Stay strong, Diane!
Lee Gechas
September 11, 2020
My condolences to my colleague, Marti Swords-Horrell and the rest of the family in this time of loss. What a unique and special and lovely person your brother Peter obviously was. I know you will miss him! May you find comfort in one another and in your faith and music!
Nancy Rehkugler
Friend
September 11, 2020
I am sadden to learn of the passing of Peter.
I worked with Peter at CPS and on occasion Protesting along side of him in Syracuse, N. Y. for justice and the rights of others.
He was such a good person - gentle, kind, sincere and always willing to go beyond to help someone in need.

My sincere heartfelt condolences to Diane and family.

Peter- Spread your Wings and fly
Cathy Brochu
Coworker
September 11, 2020
So sorry to hear of Peter's passing. I worked with him for many years. He was a pleasure and an inspiration to work with. You are all in my thoughts and prayers. May happy memories of him and the love of friends get you thru this difficult time.
Anne Sommers
Coworker
September 11, 2020
My deepest condolences to you. I worked with Peter when he was with the county and after. He was a kind hearted man who will be missed. May your memories of this extraordinary man help carry you through your sorrow. Rest in Peace
Susan Santarelli
Coworker
September 11, 2020
Such an enormous loss to our entire community. So very sorry, Diane!
Nancy Keefe Rhodes
Friend
September 10, 2020
Peter changed my life in the too few brief moments I have sat next to him at meetings. He introduced me to Alice Miller's book "For Your Own Good."
Sharon Patterson
September 10, 2020
Rest in Power.
Howard
September 10, 2020
Condolences to all from a friend from long ago through Dick and Hannah Moore and more recently through my pastor Rev. Marti Swords-Horrell.

Laverne
H Laverne Thomas
Friend
September 10, 2020
What a wonderful legacy Peter left, including Alicia, Tim and Emma, a family we've gotten to know more the last few years. Peter and Diane humored our barn singing and we had a good time. He was a positive, yet gentle force in the world. Paul and Farah
Paul Carbone
Friend
September 10, 2020
Your kindness, your generosity, and your love for family and friends are what I will remember most about this fierce social justice warrior. Rest in power, my friend. Your legacy lives on in your children, grandchildren, and in the lives you touched with your commitment to social justice.
Janet Dodd
Friend
September 10, 2020
Diane and family, please know how much you are loved and that we are encircling you with love. I’m so grateful to have met Peter. A life well lived. With peace and love,

Kim Willis Brown
Kimberly Williams Brown
Acquaintance
September 10, 2020
Clearly a man who will be sorely missed in this world! Deepest condolences to Peter’s family & loved ones. Prayers for all of you!
Janet Frankl
September 10, 2020
In my mind, for the past 25+ years, I have thought of Peter fondly as "Alicia's Dad." From our first connection at FOCI at Oberlin, I knew Alicia would be a wonderful friend to me, and meeting her parents verified that. We are cut from the same familial cloth-- tight-knit families with parents who always uplifted and centered the importance of loving kindness, coupled with a keen sense of justice. That is why I empathize with how deep this loss cuts for Diane, Alicia, Sol, and your broader family and community. I am sending all my love.
Rachel Fix Dominguez
Friend
September 10, 2020
Alicia, Mrs. Swords, and family,
I am so sorry for your loss. It is so hard to lose a loved one, especially these days. This obituary is beautiful and speaks to a life well lived. I have such fond memories of hanging out in your house in Middle school and High school, enjoying herbal tea and great company. Thinking of all of you.
Dana Buske
Friend
September 10, 2020
Presente Peter! I am so grateful for the time I got to spend with Peter, mostly sitting around a table or marching in the streets, to put an end to nukes and to war. I loved his commitment to these issues, but more importantly, his love and commitment to his family and friends. Thank you, Peter, for including me in your circle of friends.
Barbara Humphrey
Friend
September 10, 2020
Peter led by example and always was community oriented.
Jim Terrinoni
September 9, 2020
Peter was my brother, a friend and a colleague. Until we meet again, rest well dear friend....
Marcus Jackson
Friend
September 9, 2020
A purity shone in Peter's smile, one that expressed compassion and affection with spontaneous ease. It touched you without your knowing it and glowed within. A lot of adjectives and phrases hold true of him; suffice it to say he was a lesson in how life can be lived well by walking softly on the earth. The heart is grateful to have known him.
Hari
Friend
September 9, 2020
I had been privileged to know Peter and all the wonderful work he has done in the Syracuse community through our membership in University United Methodist Church and through his work as a psychiatric social worker on a part time basis in my psychiatric practice, while he worked full time in
social justice work in the Syracuse community. He will greatly missed.
Barbara J Miller MD
Coworker
September 9, 2020
Diane , I am so sorry for your loss . He fought hard for peace and justice. We have all been inspired by his special gifts . We will continue fighting during these difficult times and carry his strength and memory in our hearts . Sending love and peace to your family .
Fondly ,
Rebecca Migenes
Rebecca Migenes
Friend
September 9, 2020
I went to your fund and signed the guest book there. I wanted to go to your funeral when the virus is over.
Zeke Smukler
Friend
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