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Life Story / Obituary
All who knew Lewis Swindell would agree that he was a blessing in the lives of those around him. While it’s true that he loved being out on the golf course, it was when with his family that he found the most joy. Lewis and his wife, Nancy, were so proud to witness their family tree grow to include the numerous branches of loved ones they adored. He was a man of sound moral principle who was a great judge of character, and he instilled within his children and grandchildren a timeless legacy they will proudly carry on. Deeply loved, Lewis will never be forgotten.
With the end of WWII in 1945, there was much to celebrate. Manufacturing was no longer focused on supporting the war effort, rationing had become a thing of the past, and the baby boom was underway. It was during this time of exciting changes that Lewis Kerm was born in Highland Park, Michigan, on September 5, 1949. Raised in the family home in Livonia, he was one of four as he was joined in his family by his siblings, James, Sylvia, and Lynn. Lewis was an outdoor lover, and as a child he could often be found out in the woods in the neighborhood. He also loved hunting all kinds of things like squirrels, rabbits, and frogs.
In many ways Lewis was a young man of his time. As a teen he loved working on his black 1969 Chevelle SS, and this car was perhaps his biggest source of pride and joy. Lewis started working very young when he took a job at Queens Garden Nursery when he was just 13. This was also where he learned how to drive. In high school he was known to skip a fair amount of his classes, but he still earned straight A’s. Lewis always made sure he was back for lunch, which is probably because he charmed the lunch ladies who in turn doted on him. Peanut butter and jelly was one of his favorites. Most times, he skipped the rest of the day after eating lunch. Lewis was also known as the class clown.
Not to be forgotten during Lewis’ years in school was his introduction to the woman of his dreams. Her name was Nancy, and they met on a Saturday morning bowling league at Merribowl in Livonia. Lewis was 15 while she was just 13 at the time, but their love soon began to grow. Lewis proposed before going into the service, and it was in 1970 that they exchanged their vows. The newlyweds took a four-day honeymoon up North before Lewis needed to return to Germany as his leave had ended. They then moved to Germany. While in Germany, Lewis worked on a missile site, and after two years his military duties were fulfilled. After eight months they returned stateside and settled in Redford before moving to Plymouth. In 1975 they were blessed with the birth of their daughter, Kelly, and in 1977 their family was completed with the birth of Kimberly. Lewis worked hard to support his family including for 22 years as a press operator at Huron Forge. In time, he ran the press room. From there Lewis moved to Bluewater Manufacturing in Marysville where he was a chain conveyor plant manager. Lewis stayed there for 26 years until retiring.
It was easy to see that family always came first in Lewis’ life. He was involved in the lives of his girls, particularly as a coach for their teams including softball. All the kids loved Lewis, and he also loved being a coach. He was very much the neighborhood coach, and practices were often followed with a trip to Dairy Queen. Lewis believed that your last name is who you are and that you should never disgrace it. He was a good judge of character, and Lewis could always see the good in everyone. He was so grateful to Nancy for helping him build such an amazing life, and he always felt so fortunate and grateful to have a loving wife, fantastic children, a good job, and so many amazing experiences. Everyone loved Lewis for his quick wit and fun-loving sense of humor, and he made sure that his family and friends loved life as much as he did. He told the best jokes, and somehow he could make a rhyme out of just about anything.
There were so many things that kept Lewis busy. It has been said that golf was his greatest passion, and he traveled all over the United States to play. Lewis even taught Nancy to be a golfer, and he was so proud to teach her something that brought them so much time spent together. He enjoyed using his backyard as a putting green, which is part of why Lewis liked cutting the grass and yard work. He got Nancy to be a golfer and was very proud that he could teach her about the game that brought him so much joy. Lewis particularly loved golfing in Northern Michigan, and his favorite course was Arcadia Bluffs Near Traverse City. Lewis also liked Bay Harbor Golf Course in Bay Harbor. On his most recent trip there he was flown in from Port Huron, picked up by car, and taken right to the golf course. This was such a special trip since it was a guys only trip, and they went just for the day. Lewis and Nancy enjoyed entertaining, and they always made sure that everything was in pristine condition. He liked setting up the bar and house for family events and was a great host.
When reflecting on the life of Lewis Swindell, it is easy to see that his contagious zest for life covered everything he did. He enjoyed things like bowling and tending to his home and yard, but nothing was better than being out on the golf course with his family and friends. Honorable and kindhearted, Lewis was there to love and support others within condition. After a long and courageous battle with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, he leaves behind a priceless collection of memories that his loved ones will forever hold near and dear to their hearts.
Lewis Kerm Swindell, 70, passed away March 11, 2020. Beloved husband of Nancy for 50 years. Cherished father of Kelly (Jay) Leach and Kimberly (Adam) Zell. Dearest grandfather of Jarred Leach, Keaton Leach, Logan Zell and Maddy Zell. Adored brother of James Swindell, Sylvia LaGrant, Lynn (Bill) Elsey Also survived by many nieces and nephews. Lewis was an avid golfer and bowler. He was a supportive and dedicated husband and dad. A visitation will be held Friday, 3-8:00 pm, Funeral service Saturday, 11:00 am at Neely-Turowski Funeral Home, 30200 Five Mile Road (between Middlebelt Rd. and Merriman Rd.), Livonia. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to www.curepsp.org.