Rev. M. Thomas Swantner

Born: Sun., Oct. 20, 1929
Died: Mon., Dec. 17, 2012


1:00 PM to 2:00 PM, Sun., Dec. 23, 2012
Location: Amanda Reid Memorial Chapel, Wesley Manor

Memorial Service

2:00 PM Sun., Dec. 23, 2012
Location: Amanda Reid Memorial Chapel, Wesley Manor

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Rev. M. Thomas Swantner, 83, of Frankfort, died on Monday, December 17, 2012, at Wesley Manor Retirement Community in Frankfort.

He was born October 20, 1929, in Peru, Ind., the son of William J. and Lurah Long Swantner.

On June 10, 1951, he married the former Vera Winger in Speedway; she survives.

Thomas graduated from Chili (Miami County) High School in 1947.  He graduated from Manchester College in 1954 and from The Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis in 1958.  Thomas served for 42 years as a minister under appointment with the United Methodist Church.  He served for 6 years in Indiana and 36 years in Illinois lastly in Pana.  After retiring from the ministry in 2006, Thomas moved to Frankfort. Thomas was a member of the Illinois Great Rivers Conference.  He was also a past member of the Rotary Club of Frankfort and of Pana where he was also Assistant District Governor. Thomas was twice a Rotary Paul Harris Fellow. His past memberships include the Masons, Shriners and Scottish Rite.  He loved to travel and camp.

In addition to his wife, Thomas is survived by two daughters, Rebecca E. (Kim) Heusel of Indianapolis, and Laura F. (John) Johnson of Peoria, IL; one sister, Shirley (Charles) Guyer of Kokomo; one brother, John J. Swantner (companion, Ellen Gross) of Chili; three grandchildren, Aaron K. Heusel (Cara Owens), Robin D. (Natalie) Heusel, and Thomas G. Heusel (Lori Marshall); two great grandsons, Xander Heusel and Elijah Heusel.

Thomas is preceded in death by his parents, one son, David W. Swantner; one brother, George Swantner; one sister, Marilou Neff; and one half brother, William E. Swantner.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, December 23, 2012, at Amanda Reid Chapel at Wesley Manor at 2 p.m. with one hour of visitation prior to the service.  Pastor Lowell Brown and Chaplin Barbara Kinsler will officiate.  Inurnment will be at a later date in Mound Cemetery in Pana, Ill.

Memorials in Thomas’ name may be made to Heifer International, Jimmy Carter Center, Habitat for Humanity, Good Samaritan Fund or donor’s choice.

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Condolence Booklet

Betsey Brogan
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Sending our prayers to the Swantner Family. Surely Heaven has gained a wonderful angel. Amen.

Nic Showalter
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Tom was always supportive and encouraging to me as a young pastor just getting started. I will never forget his voice and his ready laugh. My memories of Tom bring me joy and a smile. My life and ministry is richer for having known Tom.

Bruce and Francine Clayton
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Our thoughts are with you all. Thomas is truly an example of a life well lived. Many people are the better for him having passed their way during his life time. I know that he has been received with joy and love.

Dave Hultberg
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Tom was so kind to me as a new young pastor coming into the Central Illinois Conference in 1976. He was so supportive over the years. I am now grateful to serve in Pana where the people of PanaFirst love him and Vera. I appreciated the encouraging phone calls from Tom since I came to Pana. I will miss him. A beautiful voice has now been added to the heavenly choir.

Dave and Pat Walls
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Dear Vera, We cannot think of Tom without smiling. His good humor was the highlight of every clergy meeting. He loved people, and he loved his work. We know you will him terribly. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. Love, Pat and Dave Walls

Arline Snow
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. Tom was a great friend and singing buddy. Much Love, Arline

Rev. Keith A. Michaels
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
My sympathies, Vera on Thomas' death. Tom was instrumental to me when I was in process of being ordained. I worked with him on the alumni board of Christian Theological Seminary. Tom made a huge impact on me in my faith journey. I will always remember him.

Keith A. Michaels

John Daigle
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
I lost a Great Uncle, the world lost a great servant, and Heaven receives a great soul....Rest dear Uncle

Sharon Colbert Garretson
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
My sympathy to Vera and family over the loss of Tom, the man with the big heart, golden voice, and much wise cousel. I served under his direction at Pontiac First as youth director during my early steps into the ministry. I still remember his words which I repeat to others quite often: "Trust God to do that which is right." God blessed my life through Tom and Vera.

Gretchen Stinebaugh
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
My deepest sympathy to Vera and all of Tom's family. Tom was directing Pastor at Pontiac First when I came and served as Associate with him for 4 years. He was so supportive of me and my ministry there and remained a source of friendship and support and he and Vera moved to new ministries.

John C. Wilkey
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Vera and family,
Tom was one of my closest and dearest friends. We served together for many years on the faculty of the License to Preach School in Bloomington where we became great friends. We enjoyed long talks during the two weeks of the school each year. We served on the Board of Ordained Ministry together. We played jokes on each other. We usually sang "Life's Railway to Heaven" on the last night of the License School. I prayed for Tom and you Vera by name every day for many many years. He was a great friend, a great preacher, a revered member of our Conference. I am sorry I am so far away that I cannot attend his funeral. Love - John

Melissa (Missy) Nollman Rybolt
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
As we mourn and miss this great man dearly-the heavens REJOICE! I can hear his voice singing in God's choir and all is well. Rest in peace and I look forward to giving you a big bear hug soon.

Ashley Burrell Bauer
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Tom was always a great person to be around and always made me laugh. I have known Tom and Vera ever since I was a little girl and attended Pana First United Methodist Church. He got to see me grow up through the church and then when I was in Junior High, he and I always did the opening and closing skits for Vacation Bible School.

He was such a great person and is already greatly missed.

Jerry King
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
I first met Tom when I attended License for Local Pastors School. He was teaching history and worship at the time. I'll always remember how he made it all come alive with such great stories. He had a great commitment to the education of new pastors. I am forever grateful.

Seth Michael Koons
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
I've known Rev. Swantner for my entire life. i've gotten to know him through our church in Pana, IL. I love this man to death. he tought me so much about church and Christ. when he talked, i listened. he maid church service very interesting and he joked with the congregation but was straight to the point with his messages. that's what i liked about him as a person. he would do anything for anybody. i know he's looking down upon us right now and smiling. :) he will be missed by all who were touched by him. especially the congregation of FUMC in Pana.

Seth Koons
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
I've known Rev. Swantner for my entire life. i've gotten to know him through our church in Pana, IL. I love this man to death. he tought me so much about church and Christ. when he talked, i listened. he maid church service very interesting and he joked with the congregation but was straight to the point with his messages. that's what i liked about him as a person. he would do anything for anybody. i know he's looking down upon us right now and smiling. :) he will be missed by all who were touched by him. especially the congregation of FUMC in Pana.

Margie Overlot
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
The daughter of Fred and Dorothy Barber wants to add her sympathy and love to Mrs. Swantner. How much I loved it when we got to visit and know them through my parents. What wonderful stories to tell. I have always been grateful for the wisdom in preaching that he taught me. What an outstanding Christian man with a faith that would touch the soul of any person. Much love to Rev. Tom's family as well. Margie (Barber) Overlot

Gaylord and Macel Buss
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Vera and Family:
Our deepest sympathy,love and prayers. Tom's great sense of humor and contagious smile will always be recalled and our great times in the Centeral Illinois Conference. Macel and I recall the great District gatherings and meetings with you at Pana and in the Decatur district.
Love and Prayers
Gaylord and Macel

Rev. Deborah Talbott
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
My greatest thanks to Tom for his inspiration and dedication to leading us young pastors through the process. Thanks Vera for sharing him with us!!! Prayers go with you all. Tom was a real gem!
In Christ's service,
Rev. Deborah Talbott

Dan Koons
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
Reverend Swantner was always smiling, a real people person. The man was a leader, a great speaker and listener, a rare combination in a small town. My time growing up in Pana led me to some interactions I valued more than others, and those with Tom, though brief, were always my pleasure. His positive nature radiated.

To Vera and the family, my condolences. I know he lives on through his influence on others.

Charlie & Betty Downs
   Posted Wed December 19, 2012
What a great friend you were Tom. You meant so much to our family, Church and the people of Pana. We are praying for you and Vera and your family.

Linda Richard
   Posted Thu December 20, 2012
I can't count the times my life and ministry were touched and inspired by Tom! He will be sorely missed. Prayers of comfort for Vera and the family!

Merlin Schendel
   Posted Thu December 20, 2012
What memories come to mind of one who related so well to all pastors in the IGRC and had such a hearty laugh you could always find him. Blessings to you, Vera, and continued ministry in retirement. Have a great celebration of life!

claudia brogan
   Posted Thu December 20, 2012
Sending my love & best thoughts to the sweet ol' Swantner family. Tom & Vera became dear friends of my mom & dad while serving the Mattoon IL UMC, and a lifelong connection was born. All the way up to & including Tom's beautiful dinner-blessing for the wonderful post-Memorial Svc after my dad's passing. All I can think of is Tom's good-hearted chuckle, his wonderful wisdom, and his bountiful love for folks around him. Well done, thou good and faithful servant~~ we miss you already

Howard and Judy Daughenbaugh
   Posted Thu December 20, 2012
Vera, we want you to know of our sorrow over the news of Tom's death. How can one forget his sense of humor and that deep, baritone/bass voice? Of even greater importance are the faithfulness and prophetic witness which were his in the churches he served and on the floor of our annual conference sessions. He constantly reminded us of how the gospel speaks to our lives in this world. May God's special gifts of comfort and peace abide with you and your family in these days of grief even as you recall the fond memories you shared. Tom will be greatly missed!

Dan Neff
   Posted Thu December 20, 2012
Aunt Vera, Becky and Laura:

Joe called told me about Uncle Dooly Tuesday. I am so saddened and my heart and prayers go out to you guys in this time of sorrow. The torch is being passed to the next generation. One of my earliest detailed memories is of spending Thanksgiving with you guys in 58 shortly after Grandpa Swantner died. My family memories are all warmer and sweeter because he was a part of them. Love you all.

Your Nephew and cousin,

Dan Neff

Gale & Connie Unserwood
   Posted Thu December 20, 2012
Dear Vera and Family.
We are so sorry for your loss. What a privilege to have known Tom Swantner. The whole Bob Allen family has wonderful memories of your time in Newman.

Janet & John Stein
   Posted Fri December 21, 2012
What a neat man, friend, counselor and pastor we've lost in Tom. I worked with him at Danville Lincoln UMC as church secretary and loved every minute of it. I can still remember his dramatic presentation of Joseph & his coat of many colors. He will be missed. My thoughts and prayers are with Vera & their family.

Randall K. Perry
   Posted Fri December 21, 2012
The first time we met, I was a seminary student and he was serving in Danville. My grandfather, John C. Krieg had been Tom's pastor in Chili, Indiana. Grandpa made it very clear that Tom (Dooley) Swantner was someone very special. What an honor it was to know Tom as my colleague, mentor and friend! We served together on the faculty of the School for License as a Local Pastor, the Board of Ordained Ministry, and the Commission on Archives and History. We went on seminary visitation trips together, shared in social activities, and had countless conversations over coffee. He always seemed to be there for me. He was really family. Wish I could hear him sing "Life's Railway to Heaven" one more time.

Richard Clapp
   Posted Sun December 23, 2012
What a wonderful man of God. He was my pastor thru high school, camp counselor, and even directed our high school play. He was an example of how to live in this world, but not be of the world. It was such a privilege to visit Wesley Manor a couple of years ago and be able to minister in music to him and his wonderful wife. God be with all of you.

Sherry Bagley
   Posted Mon December 24, 2012
I so sorry to read of Rev Swanter's passing, Here at Wampler's, HE was known as Mr. Lovey. Mr & Mrs Lovey brightened our day every time they came to see us.
The world is a little less brighter, Rest in Peace Mr Lovey.
The Wampler Staff

Brent & Julie Anderson
   Posted Mon December 24, 2012
Vera, Laura, & family: We send our sympathies & prayers for comfort to you. We fondly remember our time serving together in Rantoul, IL. Tom was such a warm character with a deep, rich voice & heart. I remember him regularly singing out "If I were Huckleberry Finn ..." and saying "God takes care of little children & fools like you & me."

Suzanne Robinson
   Posted Mon December 24, 2012
Vera, Becky and Lara

Tom became a friend to me so long ago. He joked with me, counseled me and made me smile always. He shared and participated in so many important moments with my family's lives and we will all miss him terribly. However, we will always remember him with a smile.

I send love to you Vera and sincere sympathy. May your happy memories and your family help you through this difficult time.

PDG Gary Shore
   Posted Tue December 25, 2012
We are sorry for your loss. Tom was a great friend and assistant governor during my year as Rotary Governor 1999-2000. Tom always had a smile and a kind word for everyone. He dedicated much of his life to Rotary service. He believed in the moto "Service Above Self". He will certainly be missed.

John N. Keller
   Posted Wed December 26, 2012
Vera, Sorry I Am late. Trouble making this connection.
Tom and I served a n umber of years on License School. I looked forward to tyhem. Tom wasa great spirit in this Conf. It was good to ave you as neighbors in Pana. I too would like to hear him and Wilkey sing the "Railroad" song one more time. His use of poetry (which he quoted
without reading) - made him one of my favorite preachers.
Know that you are missed and loved.
All the best.
   Posted Sat January 05, 2013
Every encounter with Tom Swantner was an encouraging one. We both felt his wisdom and warmth in our introduction to ministry at License to Preach School. At every opportunity thereafter, Tom was always interested, supportive and encouraging of our lives as a clergy couple. When he spoke, people listened, because his thoughts were always driven by his faith. Even when he passionately differed, he was kind. He was and will continue to guide us by his example.
Gay and Dan King Crede

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