Cover photo for John Joseph Swantner's Obituary
John Joseph Swantner Profile Photo
1924 John 2017

John Joseph Swantner

April 6, 1924 — December 29, 2017

John Joseph Swantner, 93, Chili, passed away at 6:36 a.m. on Friday, December 29, 2017, at Dukes Memorial Hospital, Peru.

Born on April 6, 1924, in Valley Park, Missouri, he was the oldest of five children raised by William Joseph and Lurah Suzie Long Swantner. He married the former Clarabel Chester on February 25, 1945. She preceded him in death in November, 1978.

John graduated from Chili High School in 1942 and began his farming career. In February 1948 he purchased a farm in Chili where he and his wife raised their four children. He had remained on the farm during his retirement. John also retired after twenty years as a switchman on the C & O railroad and had worked several years at General Tire in Wabash. He was a lifelong member of The Chili United Methodist Church, where he enjoyed teaching Sunday school class and leading the singing.

During his retirement, John enjoyed playing his guitar and singing with many different bluegrass groups.  He was a popular performer singing his most requested song “Quit Kicking My Dog Around.” He traveled to many music shows with his companion Ellen Gross.

Survivors include two children, Lawrence Joseph Swantner and wife Dale Lautenbach, Hermanus, South Africa; Leslie Edward Swantner, Chili; son-in-law Robert Holtzlander, Peru; nine grandchildren, Dawn R. Buman, Peru; Quinton J. Swantner, Los Angeles, CA; Travis H. Swantner, Los Angeles, CA; Kris A. Foster, Huron, OH; Ryan N. Swantner, Missoula MT; Kenneth L. Comerford, Shreveport, LA; Christina L. Comerford, Denver CO; Jace Holtzlander, Peru; and Sarah K.B. Holtzlander, Peru; and sister, Shirley Guyer, Kokomo.

He was preceded in death by his parents, wife, and two children, Steven Alan Swantner and his wife Conne; and Pamela Sue Holtzlander; sister, Marilou Neff, and two brothers. George Swantner and Merle Thomas “Dooly” Swantner

Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, January 6, 2018, at McClain Funeral Home, Denver, with Pastor Alan Ash and Pastor J. Robert Clark officiating. Burial will follow in Chili Community Cemetery, Chili, Indiana.

Visitation will be held from 3-7:00 p.m. on Friday, January 5, 2018, at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Chili Community Cemetery.  The online guestbook can be signed at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of John Joseph Swantner, please visit our flower store.


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