OBITUARY

Neil D. Swisher

May 30, 1937March 10, 2019
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Neil Douglas Swisher, 81, of Longview, Texas passed away after his fight with cancer on March 10, 2019 with his children by his side. Neil was born on May 30, 1937 in Huntington, West Virginia to Algernon Clermont and Jeanette Irene (Randall) Swisher. The family moved a lot with Al’s job, except for one 10-year stay in South Charleston, WV. It was there that Neil developed a love for playing basketball. Just before his junior year, Al was transferred to Victoria, TX and the family moved again.

Neil played football, basketball and baseball and during his senior year he helped lead the basketball team to their first state championship. The AP reported, "Magnificent Neil Swisher, a whirling dervish with a basketball, led Victoria's Stingarees to their first state schoolboy championship tonight.” He was one of four players who was unanimously chosen on the all-tournament teams. By the end of the season, he had set an all-time scoring record at Patti Welder High School with 658 points for the year. Neil was recruited by universities across the nation. He signed with Texas A&M and began his studies in engineering. He continued to play well and earned various All-Southwest Conference accolades all four years. His senior year he was named MVP by his coach. He set a new A&M scoring mark of 984 points in his 3 years as a varsity player there. Sixty years later he still holds the 2nd place slot for best free throw percentage in a career. In 1994, Neil was selected to the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

While a student at A&M, he met Kathleen “Kay” Minor when she was working at Loupot’s Bookstore in College Station. Love blossomed and they were married after his junior year on June 3, 1958 in Kilgore, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M in May 1959 with a degree in Civil Engineering. Following graduation, Neil got a job as an engineer at Gifford-Hill & Company in Dallas. In 1968 Neil moved the family to Longview and started work at Standard Tool Company as the Vice-President and General Manager. Just 5 years later, Neil and a partner opened up their own shop, East Texas Machine Works and a few years later, Neil became the sole owner of the company. His sons Randy and Timmy joined him in the early 80’s. Over the 46 years since starting the business, the company grew to be one of the largest machine shops in East Texas with a reputation for being a great place to work. He was known as a generous and caring boss. Neil eventually retired and relinquished the reins to Randy, who still runs the company today.

Neil was also an excellent carpenter. In Richardson he built their house from the ground up. When the kids were young, he bought an old school bus and transformed it into an RV that the family used for trips. In the late 70's the family bought acreage north of Longview. They moved an old house to the ranch, and he completely gutted it and renovated it. He also built a barn there and as their children began to graduate, it was here that the couple started raising quarter horses. In his adult life, Neil enjoyed continuing to play basketball in city leagues, golfing, fishing, working crossword puzzles, going to the horse races and watching his horses run. He liked playing cards, whether it was bridge, hearts, or occasionally Blackjack in Vegas. He also enjoyed playing Fantasy Football with friends and family. He and Kay loved taking trips to the mountains, especially Banff and Colorado. After several trips to Colorado, the couple bought a bed and breakfast in Durango and operated it for several years. They also loved going on family trips with their kids and grandkids and attending their sporting events and other special occasions. Neil and Kay had 4 children and were very supportive of their endeavors. He was a hard working, quiet man who always provided for his family and set a great example for them to follow. He is survived by his children: Randy (Jamie) Swisher of Longview, Jennifer (John E.) McStravick of Tomball, TX, Laura Swisher of Houston, TX; grandchildren: Trent Swisher of Durango, CO, Audra (Drew) Sabin of Baton Rouge, LA, Zack Simons of Longview, Kathleen McStravick of Houston, TX, Robert (Holly) McStravick of Dallas, TX, and Ann Marie McStravick of Tomball. Neil was preceded in death by his wife Kay, his son Timothy Patrick Swisher and a brother, Jack. The family would like to thank the staff at HeartsWay Hospice, Heartis Assisted Living and Tammy Lundy for their care for Neil during the past few months.

While Neil’s physical presence will be missed by those who knew him, we are comforted to know his spirit has gone to be with God in heaven. Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Chapel of Lakeview Funeral Home in Longview.

Flowers are permitted or in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation, directed to the Men’s Basketball Program under the specific sports donation area noting in the “Add Comment” area “In memory of Neil D. Swisher, ’59.”

  • FAMILY

  • He is survived by:

    Children
    Randy (Jamie) Swisher of Longview, TX
    Jennifer (John E.) McStravick of Tomball, TX
    Laura Swisher of Houston, TX;

    Grandchildren
    Trent Swisher of Durango, CO
    Audra (Drew) Sabin of Baton Rouge, LA
    Zack Simons of Longview, TX
    Kathleen McStravick of Houston, TX
    Robert (Holly) McStravick of Dallas, TX
    Ann Marie McStravick of Tomball, TX

    Neil was preceded in death by:
    his wife Kay, his son Tim, and brother Jack.
  • DONATIONS

  • Flowers are permitted or in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation, directed to the Men’s Basketball Program under the specific sports donation area noting in the “Add Comment” area “In memory of Neil D. Swisher, ’59.”

Services

  • A Celebration of His Life Saturday, March 16, 2019
REMEMBERING

Neil D. Swisher

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Danny Ellison

March 15, 2019

Have many memories of Neil and his pleasant smile. Be it borrowing a special tool or gage are loaning him one. We had a great working relationship between our shops, East Texas Machine Works and E & S Manufacturing. We also shared tips on which horses to bet on while reviewing them at Louisiana Downs.

He was always the gentleman.

Danny Ellison

Jim Hancock

March 13, 2019

Neil and East Texas Machine were one of my first clients upon moving to Longview. He was always the gentleman, kind, knowledgeable and great business man. I always enjoyed our visits and was so grateful that he and Randy trusted me with their business. He was a model example of what it means to be a successful business owner - He will be greatly missed by this community -
Jim Hancock

Dawn & Tony Milbut

March 12, 2019

Deepest condolences to Jennifer, Randy, Laura and all of Neil & Kay's family and close friends. We are blessed to have visited with Neil and the rest of the family in December at Robert & Holly's wedding. He was in good spirits and seemed energized by the excitement of the wedding.

My memories of Neil were always the strong silent (tall) support guy in the background, ready to lend a hand or an ear, and pull up a chair to listen. It's been hard to see him without Kay - and now we won't have to. They are reunited forever - free from this world's pain, in the care of our Lord.

Prayers from our entire family for peace and comfort, and acceptance in this time of grief.

Dawn & Tony & family

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Neil in 1957 while attending Texas A&M University

FROM THE FAMILY

Neil, with his big brother, Jack and his mom, Jeanette

FROM THE FAMILY

Neil and his big brother, Jack

FROM THE FAMILY

Neil and his parents, Algernon "Al" and Jeanette "Jean"

FROM THE FAMILY

1952 - Basketball Team in South Charleston, WV

FROM THE FAMILY

1955 AAA State Championship Team, Victoria's Patti Welder Stingarees, Neil was a vital player in the road to the championship.

FROM THE FAMILY
FROM THE FAMILY

Neil in 1957 while attending Texas A&M University

FROM THE FAMILY

Neil, with his big brother, Jack and his mom, Jeanette

FROM THE FAMILY

Neil and his big brother, Jack

FROM THE FAMILY

Neil and his parents, Algernon "Al" and Jeanette "Jean"

FROM THE FAMILY

1952 - Basketball Team in South Charleston, WV

FROM THE FAMILY

1955 AAA State Championship Team, Victoria's Patti Welder Stingarees, Neil was a vital player in the road to the championship.

FROM THE FAMILY

1959 Texas A&M Basketball Team, Neil's senior year

FROM THE FAMILY

1958-1959, Neil playing for the Texas Aggies. He made All SWC for the freshman team, All SWC Hon Mention as a soph, All SWC 2nd Team as a jr with 13.4 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 83% FT% and All SWC 1st Team as a sr with 14.9 PPG, 5 RPG and 80.6 FT%.

FROM THE FAMILY

Neil and Archie Carroll, Texas A&M Basketball, Jan 1958

Biography

Neil Douglas Swisher, 81, of Longview, Texas passed away after his fight with cancer on March 10, 2019 with his children by his side. Neil was born on May 30, 1937 in Huntington, West Virginia to Algernon Clermont and Jeanette Irene (Randall) Swisher. The family moved a lot with Al’s job, except for one 10-year stay in South Charleston, WV. It was there that Neil developed a love for playing basketball. Just before his junior year, Al was transferred to Victoria, TX and the family moved again.

Neil played football, basketball and baseball and during his senior year he helped lead the basketball team to their first state championship. The AP reported, "Magnificent Neil Swisher, a whirling dervish with a basketball, led Victoria's Stingarees to their first state schoolboy championship tonight.” He was one of four players who was unanimously chosen on the all-tournament teams. By the end of the season, he had set an all-time scoring record at Patti Welder High School with 658 points for the year. Neil was recruited by universities across the nation. He signed with Texas A&M and began his studies in engineering. He continued to play well and earned various All-Southwest Conference accolades all four years. His senior year he was named MVP by his coach. He set a new A&M scoring mark of 984 points in his 3 years as a varsity player there. Sixty years later he still holds the 2nd place slot for best free throw percentage in a career. In 1994, Neil was selected to the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame.

While a student at A&M, he met Kathleen “Kay” Minor when she was working at Loupot’s Bookstore in College Station. Love blossomed and they were married after his junior year on June 3, 1958 in Kilgore, Texas. He graduated from Texas A&M in May 1959 with a degree in Civil Engineering. Following graduation, Neil got a job as an engineer at Gifford-Hill & Company in Dallas. In 1968 Neil moved the family to Longview and started work at Standard Tool Company as the Vice-President and General Manager. Just 5 years later, Neil and a partner opened up their own shop, East Texas Machine Works and a few years later, Neil became the sole owner of the company. His sons Randy and Timmy joined him in the early 80’s. Over the 46 years since starting the business, the company grew to be one of the largest machine shops in East Texas with a reputation for being a great place to work. He was known as a generous and caring boss. Neil eventually retired and relinquished the reins to Randy, who still runs the company today.

Neil was also an excellent carpenter. In Richardson he built their house from the ground up. When the kids were young, he bought an old school bus and transformed it into an RV that the family used for trips. In the late 70's the family bought acreage north of Longview. They moved an old house to the ranch, and he completely gutted it and renovated it. He also built a barn there and as their children began to graduate, it was here that the couple started raising quarter horses.
In his adult life, Neil enjoyed continuing to play basketball in city leagues, golfing, fishing, working crossword puzzles, going to the horse races and watching his horses run. He liked playing cards, whether it was bridge, hearts, or occasionally Blackjack in Vegas. He also enjoyed playing Fantasy Football with friends and family. He and Kay loved taking trips to the mountains, especially Banff and Colorado. After several trips to Colorado, the couple bought a bed and breakfast in Durango and operated it for several years. They also loved going on family trips with their kids and grandkids and attending their sporting events and other special occasions.
Neil and Kay had 4 children and were very supportive of their endeavors. He was a hard working, quiet man who always provided for his family and set a great example for them to follow.
He is survived by his children: Randy (Jamie) Swisher of Longview, Jennifer (John E.) McStravick of Tomball, TX, Laura Swisher of Houston, TX; grandchildren: Trent Swisher of Durango, CO, Audra (Drew) Sabin of Baton Rouge, LA, Zack Simons of Longview, Kathleen McStravick of Houston, TX, Robert (Holly) McStravick of Dallas, TX, and Ann Marie McStravick of Tomball. Neil was preceded in death by his wife Kay, his son Timothy Patrick Swisher and a brother, Jack. The family would like to thank the staff at HeartsWay Hospice, Heartis Assisted Living and Tammy Lundy for their care for Neil during the past few months.

While Neil’s physical presence will be missed by those who knew him, we are comforted to know his spirit has gone to be with God in heaven. Services will be held at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, March 16 at the Chapel of Lakeview Funeral Home in Longview.

Flowers are permitted or in lieu of flowers, donations can be made in his memory to the Texas A&M 12th Man Foundation, directed to the Men’s Basketball Program under the specific sports donation area noting in the “Add Comment” area “In memory of Neil D. Swisher, ’59.”