Sky Scene 06

John Swift

October 23, 2021


John “Swifty” Swift, 93, of Spring Valley, CA passed away Saturday, October 23, 2021. Online condolences may be left at  

Born in Dubuque, IA 1928. Schooled at St. Patrick’s and Loras Academy and College. Retired from Pacific Telephone Co in 1984. An avid golfer, member of Cottonwood and Salt Creek Golf Clubs. When not playing golf he dredged for gold on his gold claim in northern California. Survived by wife, Peggy, and a sister, Ann (John) Nauman of Dubuque.  There will be no services as he donated his body to the University of California San Diego Body Donation Program.   Note: Jack was not a man of many words – he wrote the above obit himself.

As the saying goes “You don’t know Jack”, well here’s the real scoop on “The Man, The Myth, The Legend” we know and love, and call “Uncle Jack” “Jack” or just plain old “Unc”.

John V. (Swifty – Uncle Jack – Jack – Unc) Swift, age 93, of Spring Valley, CA, finished the last hole in his “round of life” on Saturday, October 23, 2021.  He was then greeted by many family members and friends at the most prestigious golf course in Heaven! No services were held as he donated his body to the UCSD Body Donation Program.  Jack swore that by eating a handful of black walnuts every day attributed to his long, healthy life.

Jack was born June 16, 1928 son of Owen & Lorena (Cross) Swift in Dubuque, IA.  He schooled at St. Patrick’s and Loras Academy. After Jack’s service in the US Army (1946-1948) he decided to see what life had to offer in Florida.  To hear him tell it – on his way he stopped at a bar in southern Iowa and got to chatting with a young fella who was on his way to California.  That young man must have spun quite a tale because Jack changed course and headed to California and never looked back.

Jack’s career at Pacific Telephone Co, well, as he tells it, one day he saw a guy repairing or installing telephones lines and he thought, “I could do that”.  Suffice it to say, he did get a job with PTC, but it was in sales and later was part of their management team.  Jack managed several high-profile accounts for PTC – one being a major television network where he had his own office in their headquarters.  He retired in 1984.

Jack met Margaret (Peggy) Hewelt and they married 9-18-1967 in Carmel, CA.  They moved to Spring Valley, CA in 1979.

On a trip Jack & Peg took to northern California in 1985, they met a couple who worked a gold claim in Downieville. Both of them intrigued by “there’s gold in them thar hills” joined the adventure, eventually buying the claim and working it for many years.  They loved when family came to work the claim with them – dredging, diving, and panning.  Life at the “claim” was a bit primitive, minor repairs here and there – will only take about 5 minutes to fix (according to Jack).  His nephews will attest, those 5-minute repair jobs lasted a couple of hours, minimum.   Absolutely priceless memories!

Jack’s ultimate passion was golf.  If you’re a golfer – you know there are rules as to when you can call “The Club” to get a tee time for certain days.  Well, Jack working for PTC meant he was his buddies “tee time go-to-guy” – he literally had connections.  Back in the day you didn’t just pick up the phone and call the club – you got an operator that would put your call through and Jack’s calls always got put through.  His buddies always got the best tee times and thankfully PTC never got wind of his shenanigans or it would have been a short career.  Over the years Jack had the pleasure of golfing with many greats – Clint Eastwood, James Garner, Glenn Campbell, and Golf Pro Mike Austin.  He was a member of Cottonwood Golf Club and Salt Creek Golf Club. 

Occasionally Jack & Peg would come visit for family reunions, golf outings (The Swift Open – which was all about the coveted “Green Jacket”), and other special events.  Jack took great pleasure in whooping his nephews on the golf course.  There was a whole lot of trash talking going on.

Later in life Jack gave up his clubs and took to the “one-armed bandits.”  He had his daily routine – make breakfast for Peg, clean up, then off to the Casinos to play his free play, gather his free gifts, then back home for a nap.  Some people, as a courtesy, bring a gift when they come visit you.  Not at their house, when visitors leave they are often encouraged to take a gift from his treasure trove.

Jack is survived by his wife of 54 years, Peggy, and a sister, Ann (John) Nauman of Dubuque, IA, and sisters-in-law Patsy Kyser, AZ and Janice DeRose, FL along with many nieces and nephews who loved their “Uncle Jack” or “Unc” and will treasure the many memories forever.  The family will celebrate Jack and share more Jack stories with a golf outing next summer.

Jack was preceded in death by his parents/in-laws, his son Craig, brother/sisters/in-laws: Tom (Carol) Swift, Mary (Joe) Juergens, Virginia “Ginny” (Don) Hoppmann, Elizabeth “Millie” (Herb) McClean, and Richard DeRose.

If you were lucky enough to have met “Swifty” “Uncle Jack” “Jack” or “Unc”, you were lucky enough!   Now you can honestly say, “I do know Jack!”

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