Cover photo for Gerret Van Swearingen's Obituary
Gerret Van Swearingen Profile Photo
1931 Gerret Van 2019

Gerret Van Swearingen

July 21, 1931 — March 25, 2019

Gerret “Van” Swearingen, 87, of Cleveland, passed away Monday, March 25, 2019 at his home surrounded by his loving family.  He was born on July 27, 1931 in Chicago, IL to the late Henry and Helen Smails Swearingen.  Van graduated from Allegany High School in Cumberland, MD in 1950.  He then spent several years in the United States Navy.  Following his tenure in the Navy he attended the University of Maryland, Wake Forest University and graduated in 1957 from Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.  Thus began an adventurous, rewarding and successful career. A highlight in his career came in 1968 when he was awarded the Master of Photography degree by the Professional Photographers of America.  Over the years Van worked in various photographic studios, specializing in advertising and portraits, set up in house color labs and did custom printing.  In 1980 he moved to Cleveland to work for Coppinger Color Lab.  Van retired from Luck Color Lab in 2001. Van was a member of First United Methodist Church.  He was a 32nd degree Mason and was a member of Cleveland Lodge #134 and Hiwassee Lodge #188.  He was a member of the Chattanooga Scottish Rite and Bradley County Scottish Rite.  Van held various positions and was passionate about his work as chairman of the BCSR shoe campaign for the past nine years. In 1968, Van married the love of his life, Mary Elizabeth Reed.  She traveled “life’s highway” as his partner and sweetheart for the next 50 years.  He loved and adored his daughter, Elizabeth and his grandson, Gerret who brought a special joy to his life. Van was a steadfast and loyal friend who loved to reminisce and share stories of his many adventures and his love of raising Bonsai trees.  The times he enjoyed most  and those closest to his heart were being with his family and his favorite cat, Charlie.  Van left his family and friends the wonderful gifts of integrity, creativity and kindness.  He was dearly loved and will be greatly missed by all who had the privilege to know him. Survivors include his wife, Mary Swearingen; daughter, Elizabeth (Paul) Logan; grandson, James Gerret Logan; sister-in-law, Ann (Keith) Flouhouse of Mt. Airy, NC; brother-in-law, Lee (Caroline) Reed of Canton, NC; nieces, Kelly Flouhouse and Stephanie Reed, both of Charlotte, NC; nephew, Chris (Lori) Flouhouse of Charlotte, NC; and great niece and nephew, Madison and Charlie Flouhouse. A memorial service will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, March 29, 2019 in the chapel of Ralph Buckner Funeral Home with the Reverend Tim Bracken officiating.  A Masonic service will follow. His family will receive friends from 1:00-2:00 p.m. on Friday at the funeral home prior to the service. The family requests that memorials be made to Bradley County Scottish Rites Shoe Fund, c/o Bruce Bancroft, 114 Tomahawk Circle NW, Cleveland TN  37312 or First United Methodist Church, 3425 N. Ocoee Street, Cleveland TN  37312. We invite you to send a message of condolence and view the Swearingen family guestbook at www.ralphbuckner.com.
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