George "Bill" William Swisher Jr.
August 18, 1930 – May 31, 2012
GEORGE WILLIAM "BILL" SWISHER, JR. PASSED AWAY PEACEFULLY AT HOME AFTER A LENGTHY ILLNESS ON MAY 31, 2012. BILL, A THIRD GENERATION OKLAHOMAN, WAS BORN IN OKLAHOMA CITY ON AUGUST 18, 1930 TO GEORGE WILLIAM SWISHER, SR. AND MARY TIPTON SWISHER FLANAGAN. BILL'S CHILDHOOD WAS NOT LIKE MOST OKLAHOMANS. WHEN HE WAS FIVE YEARS OLD HIS PARENTS DIVORCED AND HE GREW UP ALTERNATING SCHOOL YEARS BETWEEN OKLAHOMA CITY AND LEXINGTON KENTUCKY, WHERE HIS MOTHER RESIDED. SHORTLY AFTER HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATION, BILL ENLISTED AND SERVED HIS COUNTRY FOR TWO YEARS IN THE KOREAN WAR AS A PETTY OFFICER IN THE SECOND NAVAL CONSTRUCTION BATTALION. DURING HIS SERVICE IN THE NAVY, BILL’S INNOVATIVE ABILITY CAME TO LIFE WITH HIS FIRST INVENTION OF THE RAILROAD CAR OFF LOADER, WHICH BECAME STANDARD MACHINERY FOR NAVAL OPERATIONS AT THE TIME. RETURNING TO OKLAHOMA CITY AFTER THE WAR, HE BEGAN WHAT WOULD ENTAIL AN AMAZING CAREER AND FUTURE. BILL AND HIS FATHER PURCHASED WYLIE STEWART MACHINERY COMPANY ON EXCHANGE AVENUE. SHORTLY AFTER, BILL MET HIS FUTURE WIFE, WANDA YOUNG, A STUDENT NURSE CARING FOR BILL'S GRANDMOTHER. BILL AND WANDA MARRIED ON JULY 2, 1954. IN 1964, BILL INVENTED THE "AUTO-GRADE", A TECHNOLOGY WHICH CHANGED THE WORLD'S METHOD OF PAVING ROADS. WITH THIS IN HAND, BILL PROCEEDED ON HIS OWN AND FOUNDED CMI CORPORATION, A COMPANY THAT BECAME A WORLDWIDE LEADER IN THE MANUFACTURING OF HIGHLY INNOVATIVE ROAD PAVING EQUIPMENT. BILL WAS A NATURAL BORN INVENTOR WITH OVER 50 PATENTS REGISTERED IN HIS NAME. ON DECEMBER 24, 1968, CMI PUBLICLY LISTED ITS STOCK ON THE AMERICAN STOCK EXCHANGE AND LATER LISTED ON THE NYSE. BILL'S MANAGEMENT STYLE WAS BUILT ON BEING TOUGH BUT FAIR AND HE ALWAYS LED WITH INTEGRITY. AT THE COMPANY’S PEAK, CMI EMPLOYED OVER 2000 PEOPLE GLOBALLY. AFTER 38 YEARS, BILL RETIRED AS CEO AND CHAIRMAN WHEN CMI SOLD TO TEREX CORPORATION. HIS LOVE FOR OKLAHOMA CITY WAS WELL EXEMPLIFIED BY HIS ADMIRABLE LEADERSHIP IN NUMEROUS CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS. BILL SERVED AT THE HIGHEST LEVELS OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, WHERE HE WAS THE RECIPIENT OF ITS THREE TOP HONORS, THE SILVER BEAVER, THE SILVER ANTELOPE AND SCOUT’S HIGHEST HONOR THE SILVER BUFFALO. HE WAS PAST PRESIDENT OF THE LAST FRONTIER COUNCIL, PRESIDENT OF THE OKLAHOMA AREA COUNCIL AND PRESIDENT OF THE SOUTH CENTRAL REGION. BILL WAS SELECTED TO THE NATIONAL EXECUTIVE BOARD FOR THE BOY SCOUTS IN 1985 AND SERVED AS CHAIRMAN OF THE 1989 NATIONAL JAMBOREE COMMITTEE. HE SERVED AS PRESIDENT OF THE OKC CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, PRESIDENT OF THE OKLAHOMA STATE CHAMBER, PRESIDENT OF COMMITTEE OF 100, CO-CHAIRMAN OF THE UNITED WAY ANNUAL CAMPAIGN AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF MERCY HEALTH CENTER. HE ALSO SERVED AS A DIRECTOR FOR THE OKLAHOMA CITY ALLIED ARTS FOUNDATION, AND THE BOARD OF VISITORS OF THE COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING AT THE UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA. HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE FORTUNE CLUB, QUEENSBURY CLUB AND OKLAHOMA CITY GOLF AND COUNTRY CLUB. HE SERVED AS KING OF THE BEAUX ARTS BALL IN 1988 AND CHAIRMAN OF THE STATE FAIR OF OKLAHOMA. BILL SERVED AS A DIRECTOR OF THE OKLAHOMA MEDICAL RESEARCH FOUNDATION (OMRF) FOR 35 YEARS AND WAS NAMED A LIFE MEMBER TO THE BOARD. BILL WAS INDUCTED INTO THE OKLAHOMA HERITAGE HALL OF FAME IN 1996. BILL HAD MANY CORPORATE AFFILIATIONS SUCH AS DIRECTOR OF OKLAHOMA GAS & ELECTRIC FOR 22 YEARS, DIRECTOR OF TRIP (THE ROAD INFORMATION PROGRAM), ADVISORY BOARD OF THE FEDERAL RESERVE BANK, MEMBER BOARD OF TRUSTEES FOR THE NATIONAL ASPHALT PAVING ASSOCIATION EDUCATIONAL FOUNDATION AT AUBURN UNIVERSITY, DIRECTOR AND EXECUTIVE BOARD MEMBER OF THE AMERICAN ROAD & TRANSPORTATION BUILDER ASSOCIATION, THE AMERICAN TRANSPORTATION ADVISORY COUNCIL, THE INTERNATIONAL ROAD FEDERATION, AND A BOARD MEMBER OF UNITED STATES PATENT AND TRADEMARK ADVISORY COUNCIL AND AS A MEMBER OF THE US DISTRICT TRADE & EXPORT ADVISORY COMMITTEE. BILL ALSO RECEIVED THE FOLLOWING HONORS AND AWARDS: THE CONSTRUCTION EQUIPMENT HALL OF FAME (INAUGURAL YEAR), OKLAHOMA COMMERCE & INDUSTRY HALL OF FAME, THE OKLAHOMA COUNTY PATHMAKERS AWARD, AND THE SILVER HARD HAT AWARD BY THE CONSTRUCTION WRITERS ASSOCIATION. BILL WAS A TRUE CONSERVATIVE AND PROPONENT OF FREE ENTERPRISE AND AMERICAN EXCEPTIONALISM. BILL MET WITH MANY US PRESIDENTS SUCH AS REAGAN, FORD, BUSH 41 AND BUSH 43. PRESIDENT FORD REQUESTED THAT BILL AND A SMALL GROUP OF USA LEADERS SPEND A FEW DAYS ABOARD THE “STEAMBOAT NATCHEZ” PLANNING THE FORD RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGN. BILL WAS ASKED TO HOST THE CHAIRMAN OF THE JOINT CHIEFS OF STAFF ADMIRAL CROWE IN MEETING WITH THEIR COUNTER PARTS IN THE SOVIET UNION MILITARY IN 1989 AT THE SWISHER FARM. THE PURPOSE WAS TO SHOW TO THE SOVIETS THAT THE USA WAS FAR AHEAD IN MILITARY TECHNOLOGY AND POWER. BILL’S LIFE WAS FILLED WITH MANY PROFESSIONAL AND CIVIC ACHIEVEMENTS; HOWEVER HIS MOST MEMORABLE MOMENTS WERE SPENT WITH HIS WIFE AND FAMILY. BILL WAS PREDECEASED BY HIS PARENTS, GEORGE WILLIAM SWISHER AND GENEVIEVE, HIS MOTHER MARY FLANAGAN AND STEPFATHER JOSEPH FLANAGAN, SISTER, MARYANNE GREEN, AND HIS YOUNGEST AND BELOVED SON CHRISTOPHER LEE SWISHER. BILL IS SURVIVED BY THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE, WANDA YOUNG SWISHER AND CHILDREN, GEORGE WILLIAM SWISHER III AND WIFE SHELLEY, THANE SWISHER AND WIFE JILL, KYLE MARK SWISHER AND WIFE MICHELE, STUART ANN SWISHER AND HER HUSBAND, MICHAEL F. MCGEHEE, KELLY SWISHER MCLAIN AND HUSBAND CHARLES, LANE SCOTT SWISHER AND WIFE JENNIFER AND BY THOSE WHO KNEW HIM AS PAPA; HIS 14 “PERFECT” GRANDCHILDREN LORI, KATHRYN, ELIZABETH AND G. W. SWISHER IV, NATALIE SWISHER BUNDS, ALEX AND MEGAN SWISHER, HUNT, ERIN AND RYAN SWISHER, JENNIFER, WILL, MARK AND TAYLOR MCLAIN, AND HIS EXTENDED CMI FAMILY. THE FAMILY IS FOREVER GRATEFUL TO DENISE YARBROUGH, LORI HALEY AND ANGELA CARTWRIGHT FOR THEIR LOVING CARE. THESE THREE CAREGIVERS WENT ABOVE AND BEYOND THE CALL OF DUTY. FUNERAL SERVICES WILL BE HELD AT WESTMINSTER PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH, 4400 NORTH SHARTEL, ON TUESDAY, JUNE 5, 2012 AT 2.OO PM. INTERMENT TO FOLLOW AT ROSE HILL BURIAL PARK. VISITAION WILL BE MONDAY, JUNE 4, 2012 FROM 8A.M. TO 8P.M. AT HAHN-COOK/STREET & DRAPER. IN LIEU OF FLOWERS, THE FAMILY ASKS THAT MEMORIAL CONTRIBUTIONS BE MADE TO LAST FRONTIER COUNCIL OF THE BOY SCOUTS OF AMERICA, 3031 NORTHWEST 64TH, OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 73116; OKLAHOMA MEDICAL RESEARH FOUNDATION, 825 NE 13 ST, 73104 OR THE CHILDRENS CENTER, 6800 NW 39TH EXPRESSWAY, BETHANY, OK 73008.
- Funeral Service Tuesday, June 5, 2012
- Graveside Service Tuesday, June 5, 2012
- Visitation Monday, June 4, 2012
George "Bill" William Swisher Jr.
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December 18, 2016
Back in 1984 Bill Swisher visited the Raygo Corperation in Minnesota where I was working as a senior design engineer on the companies soil stabilizers and road reclaimers. Bill showed a great deal of interest in these machines and I was asked to do a show and tell on Raygos products. This I did, and Bill kept asking questions on just about everything. After he left it was about two weeks that he returned.When Bill came to see me, he brought good news, Bill said CMI had just purchased Raygo that he wanted me to be chief engineer of the newly formed soil stabilizers & road reclaimers group. Bill went on , there is an airplane at the Minneapolis airport today waiting for you and others in your group to take you to Oklahoma City today so that you can start looking for a place to live. My reply was simply yes sir, thank you so much, I'm on my way.I called my wife to tell her I was not going to be home for supper tonight. This event meant a great deal to me and CMI for now I could go ahead and develop the larger, more powerful machines required by contractors in the years ahead as our nation and the world would require. I now had the support of CMI and Bill Swisher (CEO) to design. build, and patient the machines required. CMI had to brake their comittments with Caterpillar whitch they did and in 1990 we proceeded to develop these machines. This had been the goal of my life.I'am forever gratefull to Bill Swisher and CMI for providing me the opportunity to get my life's work done. The engineering,design, developing,building and patenting all followed in 1990. Customers came from all over the world and bought these machines.As demand grew the need for more power also grew. The initial unit, RS-500, was followed by the RS-650, RS-800,and in 2011 the latest unit the RS-950 was built with all units using the same original modular basic units consisting of a power unit and amixingbox.The machines all have; four wheel drive,four wheel steering. four wheel elevation.load control, and silencers on the engines rather than mufflers.Depending on requirements the amixingbox options are for deeps of 16 or 20 inches and widths of 8 or 10 feet.The CMI Corp. was purchased in 2003 by Terex , In 2013 Bomag purchased the RS machines and moved the manufacturing to a new plant in Columbia,South Carolina.
May 23, 2015
Every few yaears I Google relatives with whom I have had no personal contact for many years. I was saddened to hear of Bill's passing. I wish to express my deepest sympathies to Wanda and the children.Bill was the son of my Aunt Mary and the step-son of my Uncle Joe Flanagan. It has been 58 years since I last saw Bill but the wonderful memories still persist. Our first meeting was during the Korean War. Bill, then a navy Sea Bee, was on his way home from Korea to Oklahoma. He showed up at our door in San Lorenzo, California, a tall, skinny sailor in his dress blues. He told of his experiences driving a combat bulldozer digging tank traps.We played basketball in our home basketball court. Bill had a decided height advantage over my friends and me.
Fast forward to 1957. Now I am in the Navy and undergoing training at the Naval Air Technical Training Center in Norman. I get in touch with Bill. Bill and Wanda make me feel more welcome than anyone had ever--before or since. They invite me out to the house to meet them and the kids. They serve a wonderful dinner. Bill shows me the two new 1957 Fords they had just purchase. Seeing how much in awe of the cars I am Bill hands me the keys and offers me the car for the rest of the day. I drive around town a proud and delighted 17 year old. When I return to the house Wanda offers to get me a date with a nursing student. What a wonderful visit. I will never forget Bill. Rest in peace. By now you have probably invented a new machine for plowing clouds for God in heaven.
January 21, 2015
It was an honor to have worked for Bill over the years. He was a good man to learn from and a great man to work for.
Saralee Claire (Swisher) Green
June 26, 2014
God bless my Uncle Bill, proud to be his sister Maryanne's youngest daughter, his youngest niece, Saralee Claire (Swisher) Green. May he and my mama forever rest in peace, with everlasting joy in heaven. I am the most blessed person on earth, my family are truly some of the most kind, wonderful people anyone has ever known. Thank you God for my family, and thank you God for my uncle Bill Swisher, his blessings and legacy are too vast to even count, for innumerable people, that will continue for millennia to come.
August 24, 2013
My husband worked twenty five years for CMI and he thought a great deal of Bill. My husband passed in 01 and I know that the CMI family was there in that difficult time of need. God Bless his family.
June 11, 2013
I have very fond memories of CMI and Bill. I worked for CMI in the office/receptionist area around 1970. I met my husband in that time frame. He worked for Bill and traveled all over the world helping with the training and use of the pavers. His name was Paul Farver "Jiggs". He thought the world of Bill. Jiggs passed away while working for Bill around 1999 in Costa Rica. For some reason I happened to come across this obit. of Bill from last year. My very best to the Swisher family.
June 6, 2012
I had the privilege of working for Bill and really got to appreciate his ethical, and enthusiastic attitude towards life, work and family. It was an honor to be around someone who single handedly changed the construction industry. Truly one of the great pioneers of industry. With Bill, you always knew where you stood, no pretense. I only wish I had heard of his passing earlier as I would have made the trip to see him and visit with his family, something I know he would have done for me.
My sincerest condolences to Wanda and the entire Swisher Family.
Pat & Melisa Lang
Jack and Becky Maclean
June 6, 2012
Our heartfelt condolences to Wanda and Bill's extended family. He was a gifted man, one who accomplished much, and along the way, motivated many of us to be better than we otherwise would have been. Both he and Wanda were always kind to us. Bill will be truly missed by many.
June 6, 2012
I worked along side of Bill Swisher in the Ron Shotts Republican campaign for Governor in 1978. Bill, as a volunteer, outworked everyone but Ron and was a shot of electricity for the campaign. My thoughts and prayers to Mrs. Wanda Swisher, Ann Swisher McGehee and Kelly Swisher McLain... three of the finest ladies I have ever had the pleasure to know. Oklahoma and the US will miss Bill. He was smart, hard working, supportive and kind. God Bless the Swishers, Pam Henry, OKC, OK
June 5, 2012
Bill was an incredable individual. He did his best in all things. He was a great freind and a mentor. We had the opportunity to work together, and to break bread together. Bill was not only a leader in his industry. He was a leader in his community. He was a strong supporter of the Boy Scouts of America and his life reflects the principals of the Scout oath and law.
To his family my most sincere condolonces.
June 4, 2012
We lost a good man Thursday morning. The equipment he designed and sold can be seen throughout 100 countries...there was something CMI in the 80 countries I visited plus some 20 countries more. I'm grateful and privileged to have known and worked for him. Our condolences to Wanda and all his family. Chester and Carol Parker
June 4, 2012
Bill Swisher was such a kind, honorable, and accomplished man, and our world is less without him. His countless good deeds and compassion will long continue to speak in testament to a life indeed well lived.
June 4, 2012
I was the Account Executive for the advertising agency that Bill Swisher used to educate the Road Building Industry the benefits of the 'Autograde" System .
I worked with Bill and CMI for 17 years. Bill did more for highway construction than anyone else. A brillant individual. Will be missed by all. Don B. Dennis
June 4, 2012
I was one of the Tinker AFB guides assigned to the Russian military visit in 1989. The Swishers visited with each of us and thanked us for our help. Square dancing on the farm is one of my fondest memories...my heartfelt condolences to the family.
June 3, 2012
I am the son of D.J. Miller who bought the first AG65 Motorgrader in about 1973. I believe Bill is one of the finest creators of highway construction equipment. I am so blessed to have known him. I wish his family the best and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Michael Miller
Melanie J. McNutt
June 3, 2012
Mr. Swisher was such an accomplished man with an amazing family. How fortunate that his family will can continue his legacy. I only briefly met him on a few occasions, but have seen his wonderful impact on people's lives as witnessed by his beloved daughter and my dear friend Ann. God bless the Swisher family! You are in my prayers!
Melanie J. McNutt
June 2, 2012
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Bills family and friends. He was a great person. He and CMI were one of the best things to happen to my family and I. When God made Bill he broke the mold. He will be missed but not forgotten
Ed,Susan, Alex Goodson