Lt. Col. Ret. USAF Thomas J. Swanton
1931 - 2021
Bring\'s Broadway Chapel
6910 East Broadway Boulevard
Tucson, AZ 85710
SWANTON, Lt. Col. Ret. Thomas J.

Thomas "Tom" Swanton peacefully passed away on April 21, 2021 at the age of 90 after a brief illness. Tom was born in Staten Island, NY on February 1, 1931, to Thomas and Erminine (Bozzo) Swanton. He was the eldest of three children (sister, Frannie [Gene]-both deceased). Tom graduated from St. Peter's High School and attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio, TX for two years. Tom was accepted into Aviation Cadet Training in Harlingen Field, TX and was commissioned a second Lieutenant in the United States Air Force (USAF) in 1954. He completed navigator-bombardier training while in Harlingen Field, TX. Tom's first duty assignment was in Korea, flying the B-26 with the 13th Bomb Squadron, and he eventually moved with the unit to Japan. He was reassigned to Lincoln Air Force Base (AFB), NE in 1956, where he flew KC-97s with the 98th. While stationed at Lincoln AFB, he met Ruth Lucke (the love of his life) and they married in 1958. The Boot-Strap Program allowed Tom to complete his degree at the University of Omaha in 1963. Upon graduation, Tom and Ruth moved to Barksdale AFB, LA and Tom became a member of the Combat Evaluation Group (CEVG) in 1964. His next duty assignment was at Davis Monthan AFB in Tucson, AZ, where Tom flew the DC-130, utilizing drones for reconnaissance, deploying five times to Vietnam with the 100th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron. Tom was later selected to command the 100th Avionic Maintenance Squadron at DMAFB. Tom's journey continued onto Anderson AFB, Guam, where he was stationed from 1974-76. While at Anderson AFB, Tom was the Executive Officer of the 3rd Air Division, which included managing the refugees' post after the fall of Vietnam and after super typhoon Pamela. Tom's final assignment was at Griffiss AFB in Rome, NY. After 25 years of service, Tom retired from the USAF as a Master Navigator in 1979, accumulating over 9000 flying hours. While in the USAF, he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star, Air and Airman's Medals, as well as many other medals. Tom, Ruth, and their three children returned to Tucson in 1980. After briefly working at Triple-T Truck Stop, Tom became the Deputy Director of the Pima Air and Space Museum (PASM) which opened to the public in 1976. While at PASM, Tom oversaw the massive expansion of the museum to over 200 aircraft, as well as the addition of the Titan Missile Museum in Green Valley. He hosted many PASM Hall-Of-Fame dinners and put his three children through the University of Arizona. Tom also loved road trips to visit family and friends, attend reunions and just see our beautiful country. Tom was an original founder, volunteer and dedicated parishioner of Corpus Christi Catholic Church. He also was an extremely loving, full-time caregiver to his wife, Ruth, of whom he was married to for 62 years. Tom is survived by his wife, Ruth Swanton; sister, Cathy Swanton (Sister Mary Cecil of The Sisters of Saint John the Baptist); sister-in-law, Linda Owens (Jim-preceded in death); children, Stephen Swanton (Angie), Mary Clements (Brett) and Paula McDermott (Dennis); grandchildren, Tom Swanton, Avery Swanton, Grace Clements and Travis Swanton and nephews/nieces, Susan, Lori, Gene, Christopher, Gretchen, Matt, Nick and Derek. A service to honor Thomas "Tom" Swanton's life will be held on Wednesday, May 12, 2021, at Corpus Christi Catholic Church. Arrangements by BRING'S BROADWAY CHAPEL.

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Published by Arizona Daily Star on May 4, 2021.
Corpus Christi Catholic Church
Funeral services provided by:
Bring's Broadway Chapel
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13 Entries
He had a very satisfying life. Enjoyed reading and wish you blessings and wish we could be there for the service. Paul and Mary Lou
Paul and Mary Lou Duffey
May 13, 2021
"Behold. I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed--In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: 'Death is swallowed up in victory.' 'O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?" 1 Corinthians 15: 51-55
James Berrang
May 12, 2021
My deepest sympathies to the Swanton Family. Tom was my "boss" when I got my first staff assignement as wing ground training officer. The only times he visited me was when he had a "suggestion" for me to consider about how I went about doing things. I still have the pen dest set he and my fellow staff mates ga e me when iI left for ACSC. He always had a smile and even temperment. He was one of the best.
Denny Acheson 350thSRS and 100SRW
May 9, 2021
Tom and my Dad, George Lamb, used to "walk around the block" together each morning. I always enjoyed joining them whenever I was visiting, usually during the Christmas holidays. Tom was fascinating to listen to during our walks, sharing news tidbits from the Tucson papers or sharing stories from his military experiences. I really looked forward to that part of my visits and I really appreciate how Tom demonstrated how simple it is to cultivate relationships later in life. I will always be thankful to Tom for being such a wonderful family friend. From Lauren (Lamb) Foley
Lauren (Lamb) Foley
May 9, 2021
Ruth and Family, You are in our prayers at this time. Because we have been isolated during the COVID 19 pandemic, we have missed seeing Tom every week, and enjoying conversations with him. He will be dearly missed and know he is in a wonderful place. Peace to the family. Love, Nina and Joe
Nina and Joe Beland
May 7, 2021
Farewell to a fine gentleman. It was a privilege to have known Tom. My sympathy to Ruth and the rest of the family Don
Don C. Campbell
May 6, 2021
My deepest sympathy and condolences to the Swanton family. A truly great man.
Jere Stiglitz
May 6, 2021
We shared many a flight together in the DC-130 over in Vietnam. He was a great navigator, a fine officer and good friend. We'll be crewed up again out West somewhere.
John Dale
May 5, 2021
Col. Tom's family, friends and religious community have lost a great soul. In his long life he perfected his gifts: giving, welcoming, doing what needed doing. He showed 'the first job of love is to listen.' It was a privilege to speak in his company.
Rev. S.T. Wilson, USN (Ret.)
May 5, 2021
Tom has been a highly loved and respected family member throughout my life as his cousin, who grew up on Staten Island with him and the Swanton family. Our Love and Prayers are with Tom and the Swanton family. Tom & Helen Bozzo
Thomas Stephen Bozzo
May 5, 2021
A great man has left us. Wonderful smile, heartwarming manner. Our sincere sympathy to Ruth and the family. We are in Vt fir summer, otherwise would be there. Our mass and Eucharist will be offered for Tom this weekend. God Bless you
Dick and Carol Poirier
May 4, 2021
I remember my dad, David D. Hutchinson telling stories of the "crew". My dad was a navigator on the DC130's,and Tom was his friend for many years while at DM and during deployments to Vietnam and Thailand. I am sure the stories are being told again, with a bit of wit and elaboration. Peace be with you all.
Donna HutchinsonMuri
May 4, 2021
May the love of friends and family carry you through your grief, and find comfort from knowing that God draws close to the broken-hearted.
T. D.
May 3, 2021