Retirees Association

Francis Richard Swann, 85, Professor of History

Francis Richard Swann

Francis Richard Swann, Ph.D., 85, born July 1, 1930, died May 24, 2016, at Thomas Hospital in Fairhope, Ala., following a brief illness.

He leaves behind his beloved wife of 49 years, Marjorie (Swift) Swann, his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Donald L. Swift Jr. and Karen Swift of Suwanee, Georgia, niece Kelly (Swift) Lewis of Anderson, S.C., and his nephews Donald L. Swift III of Sugar Hill, Ga., and Samuel Westbrook Swift of Atlanta, Ga.

Born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on July 1, 1930, the son of Francis Swann and Virginia (King) Swann, Richard was raised in Huntington, W.Va., and spent his early years as a resident of that state.

Richard obtained his Bachelor of Arts, Cum Laude, as a teaching brother from the University of Notre Dame in 1952. After graduation he taught for a year at a private academy and then spent four years as a Benedictine monk at Mount Savior Monastery in Elmira, N.Y. Following a year of discernment, Richard left the monastery and after a brief stint in finance decided to pursue a career in academics. He obtained his Master of Arts degree from Xavier University in 1962 and then his Doctor of Philosophy from the University of Cincinnati in 1971.

He and his wife Marjorie travelled to Canada to complete his dissertation research, and he then took a teaching position at Wright State University in Dayton, Ohio. Eventually rising to the position of assistant to the dean of the College of Liberal Arts for academic advising, Richard taught at Wright State as a professor of British and Canadian history for 29 years until his retirement from the faculty in 1995.

Richard was a devout Christian and a lifelong member of the Roman Catholic Church. He held many positions in the Church over the course of his life. Richard was known as a deeply religious man devoted to his faith. He was kind, compassionate, and loving, and he will be missed by all who had the privilege of knowing him.      

A funeral mass was held May 28, 2016, at Saint Lawrence Catholic Church in Fairhope, Ala. Following cremation, his ashes were interred at Pinecrest Cemetery in Mobile.