Major Robert J. Swartz (Bob) USAF Retired, of Tempe, AZ went to be with our Heavenly Father on December 17, 2020. He was 93 years old. He passed peacefully in his home, with his wife of 65 years beside him. Major Swartz was born on Christmas day 1926 in Butler, Pennsylvania to Elizabeth (Nee) Fezler and Michael Swartz. He was one 8 children. He was preceded in death by his siblings, Betty, Mary, Irene, Jule, Joseph, Stephen, Jay and John.
Our dad loved planes. He worked at the local airfield in Butler at age 15 to earn flight time towards his pilot’s license. Robert graduated from Butler High School and immediately entered the Army in 1944, where he was selected into the Army Air Corps for pilot training. Major Swartz loved his country. He was a true Patriot. He served our country in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He was a Wild Weasel in the 75th Fighter Interceptor Squad. In 1955, while stationed in Presque Isle, Maine, Dad loved to make the few hour drive to Quebec City to enjoy their fine cuisine.
On one of these trips, he visited the local record store on Rue St. Jean where his eyes met our beautiful mother’s eyes for the first time. He was looking for a Hungarian record called “Echoes of Budapest”. The rest is history. They were married in 1956 in Quebec City, Canada and were together until their passing, just hours apart, at home, 65 years later.
They raised four children during their marriage. Mike (Andrea) of Las Vegas, NV, Dr. Richard Swartz of Mesa, AZ, Peter (Dee) of Burbank, CA and Christine (John) Pochiro of Gilbert, AZ. They have eight grandchildren, and seven great grandchildren. Dad served at Eglin Field, Florida, Newberg, New York, Hahn Air Force Base in Germany, Clovis, New Mexico, and Luke Air Force base in Phoenix, AZ. Where he retired.
Dad moved the family to Tempe, AZ in 1969 where both mom and dad were very active in their new Parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel. Bob and Mimi thrived in our Tempe home for over 50 years before their passing. Our father received his college degree at American College in Omaha, Nebraska.
He later earned his Master’s degree in education from Arizona State University. He was an educator, and he loved to teach. He taught at Chandler High School from 1968-1991, teaching history, economics, and started their first aviation class. He taught Economics at Mesa Community College for 39 years as well.
Bob loved to fly so he flew locally for Advanced Aviation and the Civil Air Patrol for over 20 years here in Arizona. Dad loved our country and his Hungarian heritage. Especially the music and cooking. Dad especially loved his family. He was a wonderful father, husband, Papa, brother, and friend to all.
He accomplished all he loved. A highlight of his life was when he had the opportunity to visit Hungary with his four kids in 2004.
A viewing was held on Monday, January 4, 2021 at Queen of Heaven Catholic Funeral Home in Mesa, AZ. Interment was at Queen of Heaven Cemetery.