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Obituary: John “Jack” Swift

As received from Memorial Chapel Funeral and Cremation Service:

John Charles “Jack” Swift passed away Tuesday, September 12, 2023, at his home in Houghton, MI; he was 77 years old.

Born in Kansas City, MO on April 6, 1946, he was raised in Houghton by parents Paul and Marion Swift along with his brother Gary and sister Marilyn.

Jack developed an early devotion to community service as an Eagle Scout, mentored by his father the troop leader. He enlisted in the US Navy, serving as an electronics technician in both the US Navy Reserve and on active duty aboard the USS Norfolk (DL-1) in Norfolk, VA. He returned to Houghton during his first marriage to complete his bachelor’s degree at Michigan Tech. Applying his business and accounting expertise, he served alongside his father at Swift True Value, the local hardware store, taking over after Paul retired.

A lifelong tinkerer with electronics, Jack ran a far-reaching HAM-radio operation under the call sign N8WAV, earning several national and international awards. He combined his radio communication and law enforcement interests by serving with the Mt. Ripley Ski Patrol, the Superior Search and Rescue Teams, and supported the Houghton Police force in various positions. An avid outdoorsman, he could be found many late nights in the winter grooming the snowmobile trails and providing logistics and recovery support to the Jon Davis POR (Press on Regardless) Road Rally series that wound through Copper Country. Jack was devoted to the “Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly,” serving for over a decade, and after retiring, drove a school bus for years. After earning his CDL, he drove a long-haul semi-trailer, and his proficiency with heavy equipment enabled him to “play in the dirt” at Superior Sand & Gravel.

Family and relationships were important to Jack, and he dedicated his last decades to restore what once was lost. He reconciled with his daughter and five grandchildren, making countless trips to Virginia for visits, and attending events throughout their high school and college years.

He is survived by his sister Marilyn Swift of Hancock; daughter Susan Smith (Jay T.) of South Riding, VA; grandchildren Ryan Smith (Jordan), Katelyn Francis (Daniel), Neil Smith, Rachel Smith, Emily Smith, and great-granddaughter Avery Smith.

A viewing will begin 10am and funeral services at noon on September 30th at Grace United Methodist Church, Houghton, followed by burial with military honors at Forest Hill Cemetery, Houghton. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate donations in Jack’s honor to Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly in Hancock, MI.

To view Jack’s obituary or to send condolences to the family please visit www.memorialchapel.net.

The Memorial Chapel Funeral & Cremation Service – Hancock Chapel is assisting the family with the arrangements. 

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