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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Obituary: Swords, Gerald Joseph

Age 93

SWORDS, Gerald Joseph

September 30, 1922 - March 5, 2016

Funeral Mass at St. Charles Catholic Church, Spokane, 10 am.

Saturday, April 2, 2016.

Reception following in the Parish Hall.

Committal Service with Military Honors at Holy Cross Cemetery Chapel at 2 pm.

Gerald J. Swords, “Jerry” passed away in his sleep on March 5, at age 93, at Riverview Care Center in Spokane, Washington.

Born in Tonkawa, Oklahoma to parents Richard Henry Swords and Mary Theresa Veith, Gerald and fraternal twin brother, Harold, were the youngest of eight children.

The twins joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1942, Gerald serving with the military police on the island of Oahu, Hawaii.

After the war he was stationed in France and then Furstenfeldbruck Air Base near Munich, Germany where he met Hildegard Kern.

They married in 1951 then were stationed at McChord AFB, Washington living in Lakewood where they had three children.

Gerald was later sent to South Korea and in 1958 the family moved to Bentwaters-Woodbridge AFB in England, then in 1962 to Fairchild AFB.

He retired from the Air Force in 1966 and made Spokane the family home for 50 years.

His second career was with the Washington State Dept.

of Motor Vehicles as a driver’s license examiner for 20 years.

Gerald was a competitive pistol and rifle sharpshooter during his military career.

He was especially proud of guarding General Eisenhower on a fishing trip in Germany in August 1951.

He loved pheasant and quail hunting, golfing and fishing.

Jerry and Hilde made many close friends and were members of the German American Society in Spokane for many years.

The family called him “Opa”.

He loved his wife, children and grandchildren dearly.

During retirement Jerry and Hilde took several trips to Hawaii.

Leavenworth was also a favorite destination.

He enjoyed any German food, especially a good schnitzel and bier.

With Irish wit and humor he was often singing around the house, absorbed in lyrics from a bygone era.

Growing up with a loving family in Oklahoma and New Mexico during the Great Depression, Gerald developed into a resilient and generous loving man with a quiet, steady competence.

He never complained of hard work and was energetic into old age.

He was a man of humor, kindness and humility.

In 1935, after listening on the radio with his brothers to a game against Ohio State, he became a lifelong fan of Notre Dame football.

He is survived by his darling wife, Hilde, at their home, his three children Ron Swords, Arlene Humble (Bill) and Karen Troyer (John); six grandchildren: Matt Boucher (Shasta), Nik Boucher, Jesse Brown (Tam), Travis Brown (Julie), Karl Humble (Kiersten), Allison Humble and great-grandson Grayson Boucher; also many nieces and nephews.

The family was lucky to have Opa enjoy a long life, giving of himself to everyone, a proud man greatly missed who will be loved forever.

He was preceded in death by his parents and all of his sisters and brothers: Louise, Marguerite, Catherine, Richard, James, Leo and Harold Swords.

Special mention for their friendship of over 65 years, Edward Lapinski of Spokane and his family.

Also many friends and neighbors, Father Tom Connolly of St. Charles Catholic Church, VA Medical Center, Holy Family Hospital and Riverview Care Center.

Donations can be made to Meals on Wheels of Spokane, Catholic Charities of Spokane, Spokane Humane Society, or a charity of your choice.

Online condolences at