Helping Families and Friends Honor Their Loved One

Thomas “Tommy” Melvin Swaim, age 77

Tommy Swaim began his most perfect life on October 12, 2022.  With his loving wife by his side, all of the things of this world passed away and he left, too soon for us, to be with his Lord and Savior with no more pain or struggles.

Where do you begin to describe the life he lived?  It was full, it was big, it was amazing.  A voracious reader, expert builder, joke-teller, detailed-oriented, Western movie-loving, frustrated musician, Tommy Swaim worked his whole life at things he loved and some he didn’t love so much.

Born December 13, 1944, Tommy was the middle child of seven. His family share-cropped, so he grew up knowing the meaning of hard work. He picked cotton and would often miss the first months of a new school year to help his family at harvest time. Even though he missed many school days, Tommy was an excellent and smart student. He loved to play football and enjoyed performing in school productions. He set his eye on joining the military during wartime, but a heart condition caused by Rheumatic fever kept him from serving. Instead, Tommy put his amazing work ethic to good use. He wasn’t afraid to work hard for what he wanted or needed. He drove a tractor at night to save money to buy his sweetheart, Judy, an engagement ring. At one point, he had three jobs to support his growing family: manager at a paint store; a real estate agent; and a fireman.

When the call to leadership came, Tommy stepped up and, because of his commitment to the community, he served 23 years as Mayor of Jacksonville and held that position with honor and integrity.  During his tenure as Mayor, he fought many battles. The toughest of which occurred in his first years in office.  Financial deficits, a superfund cleanup of the site at Vertac, potential base closures, it didn’t matter the issue, he held his ground and did what was necessary. He even traveled to Washington to talk to officials to protect the community and the citizens that had trusted him with it.  His focus was on building relationships that would be beneficial to Jacksonville and, in that effort, he served as the President of the State Municipal League and represented Arkansas nationally through that organization and many others.

A true patriot in every way, Tommy loved the Little Rock Air Force base and the men and women who served there. His tenure as Mayor provided him the opportunity to serve in a way he wasn’t able to as a young man.  During a tumultuous time of base closures, he stepped in and fought the hard fight to keep LRAFB open.

He was also part of the team who established the LRAFB Joint Education Center providing college classes not only to the men and women of LRAFB, but to surrounding communities as well. He was beyond proud of the LRAFB, and his work there gave him a chance to be part of something he always admired and loved.

If Tommy had one weakness it was sweets, and ice cream was his favorite. The grandkids always knew there was a sweet treat to be found in Grandpa’s freezer. Try as they might to hide one from Grandpa, they would always come back to find he, indeed, had found their hidden treasure. In case you’re wondering, Black Walnut was his favorite.

Tommy’s happy place was the home at Lake Conway. There, he could fish all day or putter around working on his special projects. Memorial Day was always a big family weekend at the lake with lots of activity. You could always count on a weekend fish fry or bonfire. He was never without energy there, and Judy would say she had to bring him back to the Jacksonville house to get him to rest.

While he had many accomplishments professionally, Tommy’s family and friends stand today the representation of his proudest accomplishment.  If Tommy called you “friend,” you were a friend in every sense of the word.  His happiest moments were when all the family was gathered together. Loud and crazy was normal, and he relished it. With all the noise, one could always find him napping in his chair amidst the chaos.

He loved so dearly his soul mate, best friend, and wife of 58 years Judy, his children Deanna and Alan Carpenter, Shane and Mickie Swaim.  His heart would burst with pride at the mere mention of his 8 grandchildren: Emma Carpenter, Isabel Carpenter, Krystal Langdon (Sambo), Alyssa Haley (Mason), Skylar Probus (Zachary), Avery Swaim, Jaxon Swaim, and Ryder Swaim.  In addition, he has 5 great-grandchildren, a sister Jessica Scarborough (Ft. Worth), 20 nieces and nephews, and too many friends to count, who look forward to meeting with him again one day.

There will be a Celebration of life held at the Jacksonville Community Center on Wednesday, October 19, 2022 with a visitation from 9 am – 11 am and a program to follow.  There will be a visitation on Thursday, October 20, 2022 at Westbrook Funeral Home, 183 Livermore Street in Hazen, AR, 72064 from 6pm-8pm. Funeral services held on Friday, October 21, 2022 at 1 pm at Center Point Baptist Church in Hazen, AR. Interment will follow at Center Point Cemetery in Hazen.

The family would like to thank all of the doctors and medical professionals who walked with them through his cancer journey.  St. Vincent North Hospital, St Vincent Rehab, CARTI.

Arrangements by A Natural State Funeral Service 2620 West Main Street, Jacksonville, Arkansas 72076. 501-982-3400. Online guestbook available at www.anaturalstatefuneralservice.com

 

24 Comments

  • Amy Brown Billingsley Posted October 14, 2022 12:49 PM

    He and Judy were loved and admired by my parents, Lee and Ann Brown and considered both dear friends. My heart breaks with you Deanna but rejoices in knowing he is finally healed. May God bring you guys comfort as only He can.

  • Loretta Pearl Posted October 14, 2022 1:00 PM

    So sorry to hear this. (My step daughter Terri was friends with Deanna) Prayers for all the family.

  • Connie Swaim Posted October 14, 2022 1:09 PM

    This Obit described Tommy so well. Of all the people in the world that I know, Tommy was among the top 3 as being one of the greatest, and I have said that for years. He was kind, but tough, he was caring, loving, hardworking and the list goes on. I have always been proud to say he is my brother-in law. He will be greatly missed by so many. See ya later, Tommy. Love and sympathy to all his family and friends, of which there are many.

  • Silke Pope Posted October 14, 2022 2:17 PM

    My sincerest and deepest condolences to his family and friends. My sadness is overwhelming, and I always, always will keep him in my precious memories.,

  • Angela k Hall Posted October 14, 2022 4:50 PM

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family

  • Gail Jenkins Rye Posted October 14, 2022 7:26 PM

    This Obit was very well written. It is difficult to sum up the life of someone as large as Tommy Swaim, but it served him well. Such a kind man. I haven’t seen him in years, but remember him fondly. See you again some day, Mr Mayor.

  • Quinn & Cissy Thornton Posted October 14, 2022 9:03 PM

    Quinn and I met Tommy and Judy several years ago and played many games of Mexican dominos with Nagel and Donna.
    Tommy always had a smile on his face and something nice to say.
    So sad to hear of his passing but know he is rejoicing in Heaven.
    Love, Quinn and Cissy Thornton

  • gregg Reep Posted October 14, 2022 10:37 PM

    He was a dear friend and a vital part of the Arkansas Municipal League during his years as Mayor.
    I will always cherish his friendship and contributions to our State’s cities. God Bless his family!

  • Annette Delgado Posted October 15, 2022 8:33 AM

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. May you find peace in God’s love.

  • Morris (Sonny) Lassiter Posted October 15, 2022 9:22 AM

    Tommy was a good friend to our family in Hazen. He had a great appreciation for my mother who helped him with his heart condition as the county health nurse. He never forgot and welcomed a visit from her even with his busy schedule in Jacksonville. He dropped everything on his busy schedule to attend her funeral in 2002. My thoughts go out to his family. RIP

  • Sonja Poellot Posted October 15, 2022 12:01 PM

    Judy. My sincere sympathies to you and your family

  • Terry and Sandra Sansing Posted October 15, 2022 1:29 PM

    Our love and prayers to friends and family.Terry learned a
    It from him.

  • Peggy Grizzle Posted October 15, 2022 2:06 PM

    Sorry for your loss , Tommy was a nice guy!! God comfort the Swain family!

  • Todd Schroeder Posted October 16, 2022 10:00 AM

    Mr Tommy was a very nice man . I enjoyed being around the Swaim family in our younger days and have fond memories of being @ his home with Deanna and Alan . May The Lord comfort the whole family and give them peace knowing he is in Heaven and is with Jesus. Amazing to think that but it’s true!!!

  • Shirley Kee Mills Posted October 16, 2022 6:47 PM

    My Thoughts and Prayers are with all of you

  • Pamela Evants/Hurst Posted October 17, 2022 1:31 PM

    My Mom spoke of him as a Great Guy. So sorry to hear of your loss. May the Lord give the family Peace and Comfort.

  • Thomas “Boo” McDonald Posted October 17, 2022 2:51 PM

    Judy & extended family,
    Very sorry to learn about Tommy’s passing, he was a fine man and true public servant. I first met Tommy in the late 80’s while serving on the NLR city council, he was always friendly and humble, and truly cared about the folks in Jacksonville. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the extended family at this most difficult time.

  • Bishop James and Cynthia Bolden Posted October 17, 2022 4:05 PM

    The Bolden’s thoughts and prayers are with the Swaim family during this trying time. The passing of Retired Mayor Tommy Swaim not only represents a great loss of a Legend of the city of Jacksonville, but for the state of Arkansas and our great nation. A man whose work touched the lives of countless individuals, Mayor Swaim dedicated his life to ensuring that every human being had the opportunity to build a better future for themselves and those they cared about.
    Rest in peace to our Mayor, our Mentor, our Friend, Tommy Swaim. I know you are Motivated being with Christ!

  • Brenda D Bray Posted October 17, 2022 11:28 PM

    So sorry for your loss, Judy and family.

  • Cathy Brand Posted October 19, 2022 12:23 AM

    Thoughts and prayers are with you, Judy and your family. May Mr./Mayor Swaim Rest In Peace.

  • Jane Barnett Posted October 19, 2022 9:31 AM

    Rest in peace and love Tommy. I was honored to know you. Prayers to Judy and family.

  • GLINDA C JONES Posted October 19, 2022 1:22 PM

    My thoughts and Prayers are with the Entire Family during this most difficult Time. I considered Tommy a Good Friend, A Genuine person in every sense of the word. God Bless each of you

  • Tony and Tena Van Pelt Posted October 20, 2022 2:05 PM

    Judy, so sorry for your loss. Thoughts and prayers are with you. Tommy and Nagel are together again.

  • DJ Traywick Posted November 17, 2022 8:04 PM

    Once in a lifetime you meet somebody who makes such an impression on you that you will remember them forever. Tommy Swaim was that person for me. Tommy and the entire Swaim family had a way of making you feel included and very special. His beautiful sister Ida Linam was my best friend. What I learned early on is if one of the Swaim family members loved you they all loved you. Thank you Tommy and Ida for such beautiful memories and so many wonderful times in my life. God bless and keep you both.

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