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Thomas James Swoboda

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Thomas James Swoboda

AGE: 94 •

Thomas James Swoboda, 94, died on the morning of August 4, 2015, at the Jenner's Pond retirement community in West Grove, PA, where he had been living since 2000. He was born in Milwaukee, WI, on February 25, 1921, the son of Emil Swoboda and his wife Maria (Czlapinski) Swoboda. He obtained a bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin and a doctorate in Chemistry from the University of Illinois. During World War II, he helped devise methods for the large-scale manufacture of DDT for military use. From 1948 to his retirement in 1985, he was employed by the DuPont Company, engaged in chemical research at the Experimental Station in Wilmington, DE. He was granted U.S. patents for a new class of metallic compounds which he synthesized, the chromium-manganese antimonides. Thomas pursued numerous hobbies with passionate enthusiasm. He played trombone in the First State Symphonic Band for half a century; he also played with several jazz ensembles. He was an accomplished ice skater and ballroom dancer, and an avid fisherman. An amateur botanist and devotee of his garden, he qualified as a Delaware Master Gardener. In early 1960s, he has involved in the Civil Rights movement in Wilmington. For a dozen years, into his early nineties, he tutored local schoolchildren under the auspices of the Oxford Educational Foundation.

His second wife, born Edith Griffith, to whom he was married for 44 years and who shared most of his hobbies, died in 2014. His survivors include his son by his first marriage, Philip James Swoboda of Mount Vernon, New York, and the latter's wife Rita Ferrone; his stepdaughter Rebecca Sue (Knight) Coalson of St. Louis, MO, her husband William, and their two children; and his two nieces, Karen Trickle and Janet Helminski, the daughters of his recently-deceased sister, Florence Odry, of Milwaukee, WI.

A memorial service, open to all who knew him, will be held on Saturday, October 31, at 1:30 pm in the Allison building at Jenner's Pond. Online condolences may be made by visiting Arrangements by the Foulk & Grieco Funeral Home, West Grove, PA.

Published in The News Journal on Sept. 29, 2015
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