Everett F Swann Sr., a longtime resident of South Nyack, passed away on January 9, 2018 at home. At 93, he lived a long life dedicated to family, community and country. Throughout his life he was an intermediary helping those in need.
He was born at Suffern Hospital, the 10th child of 15 to Bertha and William Chester Swann on September 27, 1924. He was raised in Brooklyn by his aunt and uncle and returned home to Rockland County after the death of his father. There he attended schools in Haverstraw and later Tappan Zee High school.
He enlisted in the Army in 1943, without telling his mother, and served about 3 years during World War II. His service took him to places including New Guinea, Australia, the Philippines and Japan. He served as an operator in an amphibious duck company. His company was specially trained and was the backbone of transporting troops, cargo, food and medical supplies throughout the South Pacific war zone. He earned the rank of Technical Sergeant 4th grade, one of the highest ranks at that time, and was awarded 3 Bronze stars for Valor and Bravery.
After returning home to Rockland, he married his high school sweetheart, Priscilla Sisco and had six sons: David, Robert, Everett Jr., Ramon, Aaron and Brian. He had a strong work ethic sometimes working 2 jobs at a time to provide for his family. He worked for Robert Gair paper mill/Federal paper board company for 40 years and became the first African American Plant Superintendent. After the closing of the paper mill, he worked alongside his brothers Albert, James and Elmer at Albert’s Limousine where he chauffeured patrons to airports, proms, weddings, and many other special events. He would often reminisce of the time he brought Whoopi Goldberg, Danny Glover and Oprah Winfrey to the premiere of The Color Purple and how “all the cameras caught of him were his hands”.
In the early 1970’s, he began assisting his wife Priscilla in their congregation’s food project at Berea Seventh Day Adventist Church in Nyack. He was a dependable resource for the community by delivering food, supplies, toys, coats and shoes to families in need. He continued his deliveries past his 90th birthday after over 40 years of volunteer service.
Everett and Priscilla’s marriage resulted in 6 sons, 16 grandchildren, 27 great grandchildren and 3 great great grandchildren. He loved his family fiercely and ran his home with an open door policy. He often opened his home to family or friends in need of a temporary home and assisted in raising 4 of his grandchildren. He loved to socialize, making friends wherever he went with his infectious laughter and wonderful spirit. A jokester and a storyteller, he loved to tell tales of growing up on popcorn farms or monkey farms, misadventures from his times at the paper mill, his occasional encounters with celebrities while bartending, and old stories from his Army days. His stories, whether they were true or not, always held his listeners captivated and would end with a smile on their faces. He was a lover of photography and videography; it was rare to see him without his camera and he enjoyed taking pictures and videos of family and his travels. He made home videos often and enjoyed sharing his work and his knowledge with his family. He loved music; he played the piano and harmonica and you would often hear him singing or tapping along with his tunes. He loved coffee, good food and was quite a great cook. He was famous for his beans, turkey wings, fruit salad, and candied yams. They were always a party favorite. He was mechanically talented and spent a lot of time working on cars with his sons, grandsons and nephews. If you needed him, you could find him drinking a cup of coffee at The Wooden Indian (no matter the name change), tending to the Albright family, chatting someone up at Shop-Rite or bonding with other vets at the American Legion Post 310 where he once served as Vice Commander.
Over the years Everett has received awards acknowledging his service to community and country. In 2008, he led the Nyack Memorial Day parade. In 2011, Everett was awarded the Buffalo Soldier Citation by Rockland County executives and in 2014, He was honored as one of the 8 Swann Brothers who served during World War II by the Buffalo Soldiers. Both times he was interviewed by the press which allowed him to share his story publicly. In his final years, Everett lived in his house on the hill with his grandson “Rock” and his wife Yanil along with their children, “Tre” and Ava. They ensured his final years were happy by providing him with loving care, companionship and a ready ear for every story he decided to tell.
Everett is survived by 5 of his six sons: Robert(Marie), Everett, Ramon(Deborah), Aaron(Sharon) and Brian(Deloris), daughter in law Mary Swann, sisters in law: Judy Peaks, Mary Swann and Lottie Swann, 15 grandchildren: Robert Jr., Quinetta, Selena, Sonia,Tyrone, Edward, Rebecca, Ramona, Matthew, Ramon II (Rock), Rachel, Everett III, Kiah, Taylor and Dana as well as 27 great-grandchildren, 3 great-great-grandchildren and a host of cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He was predeceased by his wife of 56 years, Priscilla, eldest son David, grandson Kristopher and all 14 of his siblings James, Joseph, William (Bill) Elmer, Robert, John (Jack), Albert, Raymond, George, Helen, Bertha, Ruth, Marjorie, and Grace.
Viewing hours will be Wednesday, January 17 from 5-8pm and funeral services will be Thursday at 11am at Berea SDA Church at 67 So Broadway, Nyack NY. At his request, he will be buried with his brothers at Rockland County Veterans Cemetery in Spring Valley, NY.