George Harry Swain
March 29, 1923 – August 28, 2021
George Harry Swain, “Harry,” passed away on August 28, 2021 at age 98 in Wilson. Harry was born on March 28, 1923, the eighth child of ten born to Robert Arnette and Mary Moore Swain, in Anthony, Marion County, Florida. His parents bestowed upon him a strong intellect, and they and his siblings instilled in him an ardent work ethic, a sterling character, extreme loyalty to family and friends, and a kind and gentle spirit.
Harry enlisted into the United States Navy in 1942 and served throughout WW II, first as a Navy aviator on blimps out of Banana River Naval Air Station, and then on a destroyer, the USS J. Fred Talbott out of Port Everglades, both units being primarily involved in protecting transport convoys over the North Atlantic and South American shipping lanes and shoreline defense. After discharge Harry continued his education at Tennessee Technical University in Cookeville Tennessee, studying business education and administration, and advanced his education further at George Peabody College for Teachers of Vanderbilt University where he obtained advanced degrees. After a short while teaching in the Florida junior college system, in 1953 Harry relocated his family to Wilson, to establish and become chairman of the Department of Business at Atlantic Christian College, now Barton College, a position he held until retirement in 1989. While at ACC, Harry continued his studies and taught at Peabody in its summer school programs until he established and directed the summer school program at ACC. Besides teaching business and administration, Harry was instrumental in establishing many innovative and progressive programs and curricula at ACC and was extremely influential in the growth of the college and the educational lives of his students, his faculty colleagues, and other professional educators. Harry was active in civic and community affairs and proud to have been a member of the Wilson Rotary Club since 1954, having served as President and being recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. Harry was befriended by many Wilsonians of prior generations, established close bonds with many friends of his own time, and established friendships with former students and others of younger generations, all of which sustained him in his opening, middle and closing years. Harry was quietly and spiritually Christian and a member of the First United Methodist Church. Harry was truly a kind and good person of exceptional character and lived a full, long, and contented life untroubled by remorse for past actions or regret for lost opportunities.
In 1947, Harry married Myrtle Thompson and remained devoted to her until her death in 2010, and thereafter until his own demise. Harry and Myrtle were constant and loving companions, avid and passionate in their efforts and activities, and they especially enjoyed gardening together among many other shared interests. Both were remarkably loving and dedicated to their sons and made every effort and sacrifice necessary to provide them with all possible opportunities. Harry was predeceased by his parents and siblings, his beloved wife, Dr. Myrtle Thompson Swain, and their sons, Kevin Thompson Swain and George Harry Swain, Jr. He deeply loved and was committed absolutely to his family. He is survived by his son, Albert Craig Swain and wife, Anne Thrasher Swain of Huntsville, Alabama; his granddaughter, Anna Swain Goodin (Robert), and great grandchildren, Catherine and Elizabeth Goodin, of Durango, Colorado; his grandson, Thomas A. Swain (Joseph Echols) of Homewood, Alabama; his daughter-in-law, Elizabeth Curtis Swain of Chadds Ford, Pennsylvania, and numerous nieces and nephews.
His remains will rejoin his beloved wife’s by interment at Cookeville City Cemetery in Cookeville, Tennessee in a private family ceremony. Plans for a memorial service in Wilson will be announced at a later date.
Condolences directed to Joyner’s Funeral Home and Crematory at www.joyners.net.