Homer D. Swander Jr.

  • "I took Dr. Swander's two Shakespeare courses in the late..."
    - Kathleen Huber
  • "Murphy's Theatre in England program in 1983 is one of my..."
    - Lisa Horowitz
  • "I'm so sorry for your loss Michael. He was a kind man and..."
    - Rebecca Galloway
  • "I am so sorry to hear this. Murph changed my life through..."
    - John Bouchard
  • "We will miss you and Aunt Laura and will cherish the..."
    - Alice Collins

Homer D. Swander, Jr., 96, of Santa Barbara, CA passed away peacefully on February 15, 2018. Homer, perhaps best known by his nickname "Murph," moved his family to Santa Barbara in 1956 to accept a job teaching at UCSB. He taught in the English Department for 30+ years until university rules forced him to retire. He loved teaching and he loved Shakespeare and managed to continue both for many years after retirement. He touched many lives in his years in Santa Barbara through his teaching and his many projects and programs.

 Perhaps one of his favorite projects was Theatre in England, which he and his wife Laura Swander started and ran for over 30 years. Each summer they took groups of students of all ages to England to experience theatre -- seeing plays, holding classes and meeting actors and directors. One of Murph's other pet projects is still alive and well - Actors From the London Stage: A unique program that started in 1975 under the auspices of A Center for Creative Theatre, Education, and Research (ACTER) at UCSB and is now administered by the University of Notre Dame.

Murph was born in 1921 in Michigan to Homer D. Swander, Sr. and Grace Ann Murphy. He met his wife Laura at the University of Michigan. His beloved wife, Laura, died a little over a year ago at the age of 93.  They had been married for 73 years. He is survived by his son, Michael Swander, daughter-in-law, Linda Swander, both of Santa Barbara; his daughter, Susan Swander of Waldport, Oregon; and his grandson, Timothy Swander, also of Waldport, Oregon. His youngest daughter, Beverley G. Denton, pre-deceased him in 1999, and son-in-law, James Denton, of Brooksville, Florida, and Grover Beach, CA.

Neither of them wanted memorial services or any big fanfare. They didn't even want obits published. I am choosing to ignore that one about no obituary. Their ashes will be laid to rest together at Calvary Cemetery in Santa Barbara.

If any of you wish to honor them in some way, donations can be made in their names to a non-profit organization that they supported over the years and that they deeply believed in.  It is Project Aurora, P.O. Box 193, Cottage Grove, OR  97424 (a 501C3 corporation). They had a very personal connection to this group.  

Our family wishes to acknowledge and thank all of the people at Abundant Care Santa Barbara, assisted living home. They took exceptional care of our father for the last year of his life.

Arrangements made by McDermott Crockett Mortuary.

Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Feb. 25 to Mar. 1, 2018
bullet University of Michigan