Harold Lyndon Swearingen, 83, of rural Independence, died at home June 12, 2021, after a year-long battle with cancer.
Harold was born September 17, 1937, to Dorothy (Swalley) and Lynn Swearingen, at his grandmother’s home west of the city. Harold’s formal education began in the one-room schools Mud Splash and White Post. He delighted in the challenge and camaraderie of 4-H. In 1955, he earned a trip to the National 4-H Club Congress in Chicago, Ill., as the state winner of the National 4-H Electric Program. Harold supported Montgomery County 4-H throughout his life, and helped endow the Cecil Eyestone Scholarship.
At Independence High School, Harold played in the band, competed in the Junior Academy of Science in Manhattan, enjoyed gymnastics, and kept a chess set in his briefcase ready for a match. He graduated in 1955, continuing his studies at Independence Community College, and then at Kansas State University, Manhattan, where he earned his bachelor of science in electrical engineering in 1960. He supported his children’s educational endeavors, telling them, “An education is the one thing I can give you that no one can ever take away.” Harold was a lifetime member of the Kansas State University Alumni Association, and a member of the McCain Club of Kansas State University Foundation.
Harold served seven years in the United States Army Reserve and the Kansas National Guard successively from 1955 to 1963, earning the sharpshooter (pistol) badge and rank of sergeant before he was honorably discharged.
Harold married his love, Charlene Faye Meyer, on October 17, 1959, at Zion Lutheran Church, Independence. She survives at the home. Partners in every sense, they began 61 years of marriage in Independence, after Harold secured employment with Sinclair Oil Company as a microwave engineer.
Harold traveled extensively as an engineer, and the family relocated multiple times, to New York City, Houston, and Tulsa, as he designed telecommunications systems including the Trans Alaska Pipeline. He later returned to the Independence office of Arco Pipe Line Company, where he retired as telecommunications manager in 1992, and resumed his lifelong love of full-time farming and ranching.
Harold faithfully served in numerous community leadership positions, including at Zion Lutheran Church, Montgomery County Farm Bureau, USD 446 School Board, First Federal Savings and Loan, and Rural Water Board. A conscientious steward of the land, he earned many conservation awards through the years.
In addition to his beloved wife, survivors include one sister, Diana Melander, Louisburg; his children, Renee (Michael) Readinger, Lawrence; Lisa (Dick) Drumeller, Independence; Shari (Dustin) Garrett, Independence; Kurtis (Mary) Swearingen, Independence; 10 grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his precious granddaughter Hannah Drumeller, his sisters Phyllis Mills and Sharlin Thornton, and his parents.
Visitation will begin at 1 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, at Potts Chapel, with the family greeting visitors from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Harold’s life will be celebrated at 10:30 a.m. Friday, June 18, at Zion Lutheran Church. Memorials may be made to Zion or Hannah’s House.