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Published: Wednesday, 7/11/2007

Longtime farmer was a mentor to many others

FINDLAY - William O. Swaisgood, 79, a farmer in Sandusky County's Scott Township for more than a half-century who was a mentor to young farmers, died of heart-related problems Monday in his home here.

Mr. Swaisgood, retired from the AlliedSignal Autolite plant in Fostoria, was an active member of United Methodist churches in Risingsun, Ohio, and Findlay.

He and his wife, Ethel, moved to Findlay from the farm about 17 years ago. He retired from farming about seven years ago because of his health.

"He was a good American," his son Jerry said. "He wanted to pay his taxes. He always wanted to buy American. Anything that would help the church or America or his family or some kid somewhere, he just wanted to help somebody."

Mr. Swaisgood at one time farmed 1,000 acres, growing beans, corn, and wheat. When his sons were young, the farm had a herd of Black Angus steer, and the boys raised the 1964 county fair's grand champion.

He was a supporter of 4-H in those years, but continued to encourage younger farmers when he could.

"That's just the kind of person he was," his son the Rev. Larry Swaisgood said. "I think all of us, we have a double amount of energy when we're doing something we were built to do and have a passion for. Our family knows it was about God giving him a double portion of strength to do a mission."

The elder Mr. Swaisgood was a former Sunday school superintendent at Scott Trinity United Methodist Church, Risingsun, where he held several administrative positions. He joined St. Mark's United Methodist Church when he and his wife moved to Findlay, but kept his membership at Scott Trinity.

Volunteering at church seemed the right thing to do.

"Somebody has to do the work, and if you're interested in it, you do the work," his wife said. "He was a good Christian man."

He retired in 1988 after 31 years at AlliedSignal Autolite in Fostoria. He also sold DeKalb seed corn for several years.

The son of Oliver and Sara Swaisgood, he grew up on the farm and was a 1946 graduate of Risingsun High School. While in high school, he was a member of the Ohio Future Farmers of America, which named him one of the group's state farmers, "a select group based on accomplishments and knowledge," his son Jerry said.

He farmed for his father after high school and started on his own when he bought 80 acres of his father's land.

Surviving are his wife, Ethel, whom he married April 16, 1949; sons, Jerry and the Rev. Larry Swaisgood; brothers, Wayne and Ernest; five grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter.

The body will be in the Mann-Hare-Hoening Funeral Home, Fostoria, after 2 p.m. today. Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in Scott Trinity United Methodist Church, Risingsun. The family suggests tributes to St. Mark's United Methodist Church building funds, Findlay; Scott Trinity United Methodist Church, Risingsun, or Bridge Home Health and Hospice, Findlay.



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