Eugene "Gene" Franklin Swindler, 84, of Pratt, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, July 12, 2013, surrounded by his loving family.
Born March 21, 1928, to Alvin and Anna Swindler, Eugene grew up on his family's farm, located northwest of Pratt. He was the fifth of seven children, which included three brothers and three sisters. His sisters testify that he would tease the younger twin sisters unmercifully and his mother would hold him up by overall suspenders to get him to stop.
Eugene attended Golden Valley country school and graduated from Pratt High School in 1946.
In 1948, he married Bonnie Ruth Hurt and moved to Ulysses, shortly after to begin farming land that had been purchased by his father and grandfather in the 1930s. Eugene was one of the first farmers in Grant County to invest in irrigated farming and was recognized as Farmer of the Year at one point.
Eugene was a motorcycle enthusiast his whole life and purchased his first motorcycle, a Harley Davidson, in his late teens. He passed this passion on to his son and grandsons. He and the family spent many hours riding in the mountains of Colorado where he loved to vacation.
In addition to his skill at farming, he was an accomplished finish carpenter and assisted in the building of many custom homes in Ulysses, as well as being instrumental in the construction of the Shelton Memorial Christian Church of which he and Bonnie were active members.
Eugene was active in church life throughout his life serving in many leadership capacities. Together he and Bonnie were involved in the lay witness mission both at home and overseas, which took them to Ireland, Israel and Rome.
One of his hobbies was building quality oak furniture. Over time he built a large number of pieces for his children and grandchildren many of which he custom designed.
He served his community as a member of Lions Club.
Eugene is survived by his loving wife of 64 years; his son, Danny of Plano, Texas; daughters, Donna and husband Kent Smith of Pratt and Joyce and husband Willie Schmidt of Mullinville. Eugene and Bonnie were blessed with 10 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren. He is survived by his three sisters, Mary Ena Britton of Pratt, Arlene Garrison and Adelene Briggeman of Rolla, Mo.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his three brothers, Henry, Calvin and Orrin Homer Swindler.
Funeral service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Monday, July 15, at Larrison Mortuary. The visitation/viewing will be held Sunday, July 14, from 1 to 8 p.m. at the mortuary. Burial will be at Greenlawn Cemetery in Pratt.
Memorials may be contributed to South Wind Hospice of Pratt. Condolences for the family may be left at www.larrisonmorturary.com.