Terry Ray Swithin
August 18, 1955 – April 10, 2023
Terry Ray Swithin was born on August 18, 1955, at Silver Cross Hospital in Joliet, IL. He grew up in New Lenox, IL and graduated from Lincoln Way High School. He was a gymnast in high school and a proud member of the class of 1973.
In 1984, Terry was “California bound,” settling in Arroyo Grande, CA where he spent over a decade of his life enjoying the beautiful ocean, lakes, mountains, and endless hiking trails of San Luis Obispo County. In 2001, he made his way to be closer to Lawrenceburg, TN where he settled into his beloved log cabin on five-acres with his wife, Kathryn Swithin. When he first acquired the property, he did what only Terry could do: he powered electricity to the cabin using the creek on his property and a chainsaw motor.
He took immense pride in his work, regardless of the job in front of him and was known for his craftsmanship, attention to detail and stellar work ethic. In his early years, he worked for Caterpillar Tractor Company and Crown Cork & Seal Co. as a machinist. He continued working as a machinist after moving to California where he was employed with Floyd V. Wells, a water well drilling company in Santa Maria, CA. One of his favorite jobs was working on a Peruvian horse farm in Santa Ynez, CA. In 1996, he started a new adventure as a long-haul truck driver where he made his way across the highways and byways of his beloved country, the United States of America. He was employed as a truck driver with Jenning’s Farms, Inc. until the fall of 2020 when he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer.
He was a self-taught historian with endless knowledge to share with those around him. His mind was brilliant and unparalleled. He could hold long conversations about any topic ranging from politics to classic automobiles. His sense of humor and storytelling skills were unrivaled and underscored by his signature facial expressions. His stories will be fondly remembered, and greatly missed, by those who loved him.
Fishing was not just a sport to him; it was a lifestyle. He grew up fishing at Laurel Hill Lake in Tennessee but that was just the beginning of a lifelong obsession. He loved fishing and crabbing on the Pacific Ocean and his fishing pole led him to bodies of water across the country during his travels. He recently shared that some of his best memories were fishing with his children at Lopez Lake in Arroyo Grande, CA.
He was a jack-of-all-trades who could fix anything you placed in front of him. He was a masterful woodworker and carpenter who could build a house from the ground up. He could reassemble an entire car without an instruction manual. Terry was an avid collector of guns and knives, continuing to place bids on knife auctions up until his final days on Earth and, in fact, mail parcels have continued to come in even after his passing. He loved classic rock & roll, learning guitar chords and sharing stories of the wide range of concerts he had attended over the years.
He was a devout Christian who was known to lend a hand to anyone struggling. He cheered for the underdog and would give the shirt off his back to those in need. Terry was strong in his faith and inherently resilient. When given the choice, Terry would choose to surround himself with dogs, chickens and random stray animals that received ‘forever homes’ upon meeting him.
He was preceded in death by his beloved sister: Beverly Mae Swithin; parents: Norman Swithin and Mary King; stepfather: Jim King; stepmother: Dorothy Swithin; and uncle and aunt: Lou and Lois Collins.
He is survived by his wife: Kathryn Swithin of Lawrenceburg, TN; daughters: Tina Marie Swithin (Richard Glenn Simpson) of San Luis Obispo, CA, and Renee Lynn McClaskey (Steve McClaskey) of Star, ID; son: Eric David Swithin (Kameron Swithin) of Florence, AL; stepchildren: Michael Ward, TN, Michelle Ward, NJ, and Kathryn Gomoko NJ; grandchildren: Makena Swithin, Kailani Swithin, Peyton McClaskey, Matthew McClaskey, Mackenzie Swithin, Mason Swithin; step-granddaughter: Grace O’Malley; aunt: Ruby Garland; cousins: Rick, Ron and Cindy (who were more like siblings to him); and countless cousins, nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Terry requested that no services be held in his honor and his family will be respecting his wishes. His children will plan to spread his ashes from coast to coast, across the country that he loved so much. If you would like to make a donation to his charity of choice, you are encouraged to donate to his son’s nonprofit organization: Outdoor Adventures, at: www.outdooradventures.org.