John Wharton Swilley, Jr., 91, of Crossett, went to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Thursday, December 3, 2020, after a short hospital stay from complications of COVID 19.
He was born in El Dorado on September 23, 1929 to John Wharton Swilley, Sr., and Nancy Medora Goodwin Swilley.
Mr. Swilley attended Hendrix College and obtained a bachelor’s degree in Forestry from the University of Georgia, followed by a master’s degree in Forestry from Yale University.
Following service in the United States Army, Mr. Swilley relocated to Crossett, where he managed the operations of the Yale Forestry Camp. His first business employment was with the Crossett Lumber Company, where he met and married his loving wife of almost 65 years, Alice Jean (Watson) Swilley.
Mr. Swilley also worked for the Florida State University Forestry Department in Tallahassee, Florida, and later for Procurement Management with Nekoosa Edwards (later known as Georgia Pacific) in Ashdown. Upon early retirement, he was ordained as a Baptist Minister of Grace Baptist Church in Ashdown. In later years, he retired from the active ministry and returned to Crossett, where he enjoyed managing the family timber operations at Pugh, Arkansas.
He was preceded in death by his sister, Sarah (Swilley) Callaway.
He is survived by his wife, Alice Swilley; sister, Mary Medora Vestal; daughter, Betsey Walker (Bill) of Salem, S.C.; his two sons, John William Swilley (Pam) of Detroit, Texas and Steven Mark Swilley (Natalie) of Davidson, N.C.; seven grandchildren, Lindsay Walker Adair (Nathan), Ashley Walker Frey (Matt), Melody Walker Rodgers (Kyle), Brandon Swilley, Steven Swilley (Misty), Blake Swilley (Lindsey) and Kirk Swilley; eight great-grandchildren, Emerson Adair, Payton Adair, Cole Adair, Harper Frey, Walker Frey, Charlotte Frey, Elle Rodgers, and Hudson Rodgers.
A graveside service will be held Monday, December 7 at 1 p.m. at Pugh Cemetery, officiated by Brother Les Rogers of Texarkana.