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Gerald Eugene Swiggett
July 3, 1943 – February 14, 2023
Gerald Eugene Swiggett, 79, of Palmyra, VA, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, February 14, 2023 at his home.
He was born on July 3, 1943 in Corning, CA, a son of the late Harold Eugene and Wilma Caroline (Turner) Swiggett.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his loving wife of 49 years, Ida Lyn (Blazer) Swiggett and his brother Vernon Lee Swiggett.
Gerald, known as Jerry, was born in Corning, CA but moved to San Antonio, TX shortly after birth where he would be raised by two loving parents and enjoy his childhood in south Texas. He was active in athletics as a youth and throughout high school, lettering in football, basketball, baseball and track. He was a member of the National Honor Society at Burbank High School, graduating in 1961. He spent a lot of time with his Father, Hal, outdoors - hunting, shooting and helping with his Father’s professional and newspaper photography assignments. It was during his youth that he began playing golf, a sport he would truly love and would play continuously to the end of his life.
Jerry graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio in 1965 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering and finished first in his Engineering class. He then had a choice to go to work for Dow Chemical or attend graduate school. He chose to go directly for his Ph.D., in Chemical Engineering at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR, receiving a full fellowship. He completed his Doctorate in a record 27 months graduating in 1968, while also being a husband and father.
After graduation he began an extensive and extremely successful and rewarding professional career in the engineering and consulting fields that would last until his retirement in 2014.
The first 14 years of his career were spent in the petrochemical industry. From 1968-1976 he was a Research Engineer with Dupont in Texas and Delaware, where he played an integral part in the development of Kevlar. From 1976-1982 he worked in successively more challenging positions for Olin Corp., Oxirane Corp., and The Pace Company in the Clear Lake area of Houston, TX.
From 1982-1985 he took his career overseas, working as an independent consultant on major projects in the United Arab Emirates to design and build environmental protection/control systems for their water and electricity production plants. His work there took him all over Europe and was the genesis for what would later become his own consulting company, GIS Enterprises.
Following the completion of those projects, his career took a different path into the federal contracting and management consulting industry that he would stay in until his retirement. In 1985 he joined Lockheed Corporation and would work for them until 1995 in many different roles including: Director, Engineering and Science Program Development for Lockheed Engineering & Sciences Company; Director, Business Development for Lockheed Environmental Systems and Technology Company and Vice President, Mission Development for Lockheed Idaho Technologies Company. He focused on Lockheed’s space, environmental and Department of Energy (DOE) facilities management and operating businesses. He was a key part of the team that won and managed the Idaho National Engineering Lab Maintenance and Operations Contract in 1994.
From 1995-1998, Jerry worked with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) as a Corporate Vice President for Corporate Development focusing on Energy programs with the DOE and Department of Defense (DOD). He led a major initiative focusing on the privatization of major elements of the DOD and other Federal agencies.
He left SAIC in 1998 and worked as the Director and Senior Vice President of Management Strategies, Inc until 1999.
At that point in his career, he desired to be responsible for his own success and no longer tied to a larger company and created GIS Enterprises, Inc. in 1999. He provided management consulting services, including strategic planning, federal government and commercial business development, federal proposal assistance and technical support to senior executives in major energy and engineering companies. His client list was a compendium of the top engineering and consulting companies of that time. During the entire 15-year span of GIS Enterprises, he never had to solicit for business, he had a constant stream of work strictly from his success and word of mouth. He retired in 2014 and listed his time at GIS Enterprises and what he achieved during those 15 years as his greatest professional accomplishment. In 2008 he was elected to the Oregon State Engineering School Hall of Fame for his professional accomplishments.
He continued to look for ways to use his knowledge and experience in retirement and served from 2014-2018 as a member of the Fluvanna County, VA Economic Development Authority and on the Region 10 Community Services Board where he served as Treasurer in 2017-2018.
While he achieved great success in his professional career, he took more joy and pride in his family. He met the, then Ida Lyn Blazer, in the spring of 1960 and asked her to a high school dance and fell in love with her at first sight. They married in 1963 in San Antonio, TX and were together until her death resulting from cancer in 2012. After starting out in San Antonio, they created wonderful homes over the course of their lives together in Corvallis, OR; Victoria, TX; Wilmington, DE; Houston, TX; McLean, VA and finally Palmyra, VA.
Jerry was always a supportive parent of his two children Donna Elaine Hite and Darryl Eugene Swiggett. He truly enjoyed time with his family and made sure he provided a secure home for them to learn and grow. No matter his position, he made time for his children’s activities and created many wonderful trips and memories together.
He loved beyond words his grandchildren and spent as much time with all of them that he could, traveling with them and attending countless of their activities. His home was filled with pictures of his grandkids and he loved watching them grow up and being a part of their lives.
In his final years, he was blessed to share his life with Patricia Elizabeth Walker of Midlothian, VA. They fell in love, traveled around the world, and became special members of each other’s families. He was so grateful to have found her and to share their lives together these last 7 years.
He had one special interest that held his attention since he began playing as a teenager, the game of golf. He was an avid golfer throughout his life, playing on courses across the country and belonging to multiple clubs in his life, most recently Westwood Country Club in Vienna, VA and Spring Creek Golf Club in Zion Crossroads, VA. He was always active not only on the course but volunteering his time and skills on boards and committees at multiple clubs over his life. Five days before his passing, he shot a 79 (his age) at Spring Creek Golf Club including 3 birdies and making a downhill breaking putt on the 18th hole.
Survivors include a daughter and son-in-law, Donna Elaine Hite and her husband, Ralph Edward Hite III of Houston, TX; a son and daughter-in-law, Darryl Eugene Swiggett and wife, Suzanne Michelle of Knoxville, TN; five grandchildren he adored, Darryl Jamison Swiggett, Hailee Alyssa Swiggett, Cameron Wade Swiggett, Meredith Rose Hite, and Alexandra Lily (Hite) Newport and husband Jonathan Newport; a great granddaughter, Luciana Soleil Newport; and, Patricia Walker, his loving companion of the last 7 years of Midlothian, VA.
A memorial service will be conducted at 11:00 am, Monday, March 13, 2023 at Spring Creek Golf Club located at 109 Clubhouse Way, Zion Crossroads, VA 22942.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation or a favorite charity of choice.
Family and friends may share memories and photos at www.thackerbrothers.com.