Dr. Samuel W. Swindell, loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, passed away peacefully in his home, surrounded by family on June 24, 2013.
Sam was born Dec. 26, 1924, to James Agnew Swindell and Helen Lee Thompson Swindell in Greenville, Texas. He was raised, along with his brother Bill, by his two great-aunts in Commerce. It was these two fine ladies who taught Sam the responsibility and privilege of serving others in need in the community. Sam learned this lesson well and followed it his entire life.
During Word War II, Sam volunteered and served with the 379th Bombardment Group of what was to become the Eighth Air Force where, as a B-17 pilot, he flew many combat missions over Europe. On one such mission, his airplane was so damaged by enemy fire that he was unable to return to his base in England and was forced to belly-land the B-17 in Belgium, destroying the plane but saving the crew. For his service, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Award and the Air Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters.
Following the war, Sam graduated from East Texas State University and then Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, where he served as president of his graduating class. After initially practicing medicine in Midland and Dallas, he moved his practice to Sulphur Springs where he shared an office on Church Street with Dr. Ray Hanna. As a family doctor, Sam served a great many families in Sulphur Springs and surrounding communities. His schedule included numerous sleepless nights delivering babies and making house calls to rural homes. His children remember the eggs, squash and black berries that he often accepted as payment for such house calls. Seeing a real need in town, Sam completed his residency in general surgery at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, and for many years served Sulphur Springs as its only surgeon.
While raising his children and being involved with their activities, he also continued to serve his community by being instrumental in the inception and development of Hopkins County Memorial Hospital, People’s National Bank and even the local bowling alley. He served as chief of staff for the hospital as well as chief of surgery, served on the Sulphur Springs ISD school board and became involved with many service organizations and initiatives in town. He was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs.
When retirement came, Sam and Carole, his wife of 39 years, hooked up their RV and traveled fulltime for several years before building a home in Kerrville, Texas, in 2000. They made so many wonderful friends all over the country as well as in their new hometown. In his retirement years Sam was an active member of the Military Officers Association, the Experimental Aircraft Association and the Kerrville Quiet Birdmen Hangar. He had great affection for his many friends.
Sam is survived by his loving wife, Carole; his sons, Greg Swindell of Sulphur Springs, Scott Swindell and wife, Jennifer, of Round Rock, Larry Norton and wife, Debra, of Sulphur Springs and Jason Norton of Kingwood; his brother, Mike Swindell of Humble; and nephew Shane Swindell of Oklahoma City. He will always be Granddaddy to Nathan, David, Jessica, Jacob, Sarah, Sam, Grace, Heather, Holly and Ryan.
Sam was preceded in death by his beloved daughter, Carol Ann Swindell; his parents; his great-aunts, Mary Thompson and Cornelia Thompson Maloney; his brother, Bill Swindell; and his nephew, Will Swindell.
Funeral Services will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at the First United Methodist Church in Sulphur Springs. Visitation will be from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. June 29, at Murray-Orwosky Funeral Home.
Honorary pallbearers are Ben Anglin, Shem Ray, Dr. Maurice Starkey, Dr. Ronnie Stanley, Mac Newsom, Dan Gallagher, Charlie Beranek, Gary Hanson and Leon Powers
The family respectfully requests that memorials be made in Dr. Swindell’s name to Peterson Hospice, 1121 Broadway, Kerrville, Texas 78028, or the American Heart Association.
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