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Douglas Swayze II


1920 - 2015 Obituary Condolences
Douglas Swayze II Obituary
Douglas A. Swayze, II

Jackson

Douglas Alexander Swayze II, the only son of Mabel Durel and Durden G. Swayze, was born in Yazoo City on Columbus Day 1920. In his signature witty manner, Doug loved to share that as a child he thought the Columbus Day parades took place in his honor.

Doug attended St. Clara's Academy in Yazoo City and graduated from St. Stanislaus College School in Bay St. Louis. He attended Spring Hill College in Mobile for two years, then transferred to the University of Mississippi, where he graduated with a business degree in 1942. Doug enjoyed the social life at Ole Miss as a member of the SAE fraternity.

During World War II, Doug joined the 83rd Chemical Batallion in Augusta, Georgia and shipped out on Easter Sunday 1942. He served in the medical corps in Europe until the war ended. Doug was awarded the Purple Heart for injuries during battle in Italy.

After the War, Doug worked for the MS State Rating Bureau in Jackson, returning to Yazoo City to open a men's clothing store, aptly named "D.A. Swayze", with his father in 1950.

Doug travelled extensively and enjoyed a bachelor's life until 1969, when he met the love of his life, Marie Holman, on a blind date set up by a mutual friend. Neither was seeking romance, but it didn't take long for the two to discover they shared many passions, including dancing, arts, music, entertaining, travel and devotion to their respective faith traditions.

Doug and Marie married in 1970 and enjoyed almost forty years together until her death in 2009. With no children of his own and a small extended family, Doug frequently expressed how fortunate he felt to "inherit" Marie's family, which included her children, Bayard and Elise Van Hecke, her brother and sister-in-law, Henry and Sondra Holman and their four children, and cousins Lester and Alfreda Spell, the Stephensons and the Byrds. Marie's family welcomed Doug into their lives, as his vivacious, optimistic, fun-loving personality brought life and energy to all. After the death of his beloved aunt Edith Durel Hegman, Auntie, who "adopted" Doug when his mother died, they became his closest family.

Known for his extroverted and theatrical persona, often flaunted in the Yazoo City Follies, Doug soon became "the life of the party" in Jackson as he and Marie were active in many social and civic spheres. Over the years, Doug and Marie split their time between Jackson and the Gulf Coast, where they formed lifelong friendships and became a part of the community.

His family and friends will most remember Doug for his gregarious exuberance. He never met a stranger and often brought forth tears of laughter with his comical stories, anecdotes and colloquial expressions from earlier days.

After Marie's death, Doug's life became more focused on his church community at St. Richard's Catholic Church. A group of St. Richard's men, led by Jack Geary, Jamie Irby and Anthony Thomas, embraced Doug, taking him to mass and special services and arranging outings for him. Doug especially enjoyed his "Never More Than Ten Bucks" luncheon group. His inherited family, particularly his sister-in-law Sondra, her children Holly, Hank, Sandy and Janie, and their families, showered Doug with attention and affection. Doug also was blessed with outstanding caregivers, Jerry Powell, Michael Towers, and particularly Deborah Kent, who cared for Doug after having nursed and supported Marie for a number of years, and who made it possible for him to continue enjoying living at home and being with family and friends literally until his 94 years ended on Friday, May 22. To all these, Elise and Bayard are truly grateful.

Father Mike O'Brien celebrated Doug's funeral mass on May 26 at St. Richards, and Doug was interred beside Marie at Lakewood Cemetery. Pallbearers were Brooks Buchanan, Ryan Buchanan, Hank Holman, Steve Maloney, Dr. Lester Spell, Dr. Buddy Taylor, Tommy Williams and Doug's godson Collins Wohner.

Honorary pallbearers were Jerry Beard, Charles Carmichael, Bill Dunning, Bill Foushee, Jack Geary, Rusty Haydel, Jack Humphreys, Jamie Irby, Dr. Arthur Jones, Richard McRae, Sr., Robert Murphree, Danny Nicholas, Sam Olden, Judge Leslie Southwick, Anthony Thomas, Ed Thomas, Jr., Leonard Thomas and Wirt Yerger Jr.

Doug is survived by Elise and her husband, Tommy Williams of Jackson, Bayard and his wife, Alise Van Hecke of New York City and Sag Harbor; his two grand-daughters, to whom he was Poppy - his namesake; Swayze Williams of Jackson and Marie's namesake; Marie Elise Williams of Nashville, both of whom he loved dearly and who he will be asking regularly from heaven, "How's your love life?" - his St. Richards' family, his "harem" of dear lady friends from his childhood in Yazoo and his years with Marie, and his dogs Missie and Tuttie, who kept him company every day for the past 14 years. If you are so inclined, Doug would have appreciated any memorial to St. Richard's Catholic Church, 1242 Lynnwood Drive, Jackson, MS 39206.

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Published in Clarion Ledger on May 27, 2015
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