Steve Swigonski, age 95, died peacefully, Sunday, October 1, 2023, at Hoosier Village in Indianapolis, Indiana. He is survived by his wife of 73 years, Mary “Jane” Swigonski; his three children Susan Stanley, Nancy Swigonski (Wade Clapp) and Mark Swigonski (Sandy Swigonski); his seven grandsons, Rocky Koch, Quentin Koch, Scott Swigonski, Frank Swigonski, Luke Clapp, Steven Clapp, Spencer Clapp; and his nine great grandchildren, Aidan Koch, Quinn Koch, Charlotte Koch, Chance Swigonski, Clint Swigonski, Clay Swigonski, Sophie Clapp, Nick Clapp and Madelyn Clapp.
Steve was born in Benton, Illinois to Stanley and Mary Swigonski and joined the Air Force in 1948. Early in his 24 year career with the Air Force he was stationed at March Air Force Base near Riverside, California, where he met and married his wife Jane, who was in the WAF (Women’s Air Force) at the time. In 1955 he was transferred to RAF Station in Manson, England and was then assigned, at the direction of Brigadier General Kidner, to the Staff Judge Advocate’s office USAFE (United States Air Force Europe). As Steve was promoted, the family moved regularly and eventually did tours at Stewart AFB Tennessee; HQ 12th Air Force in Waco, Texas; HQ USAFE Wiesbaden, Germany; and Davis-Monthan AFB Tucson, AZ as temporary Command Sergeant Major. In 1963 Steve was promoted to Chief Master Sergeant, the highest non-commissioned officer rank in the Air Force. In September 1970, Steve was the first person ever selected to serve as the Senior Enlisted Advisor (SEA) to the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force in Washington, DC.
While serving as SEA to the Judge Advocate General of the Air Force, Steve established the Air Force School for Enlisted Legal Professionals. His tenure as the Special Assistant to TJAG “increased morale, alleviated retention issues and became his legacy” according to the Air Force. For his unceasing work towards that end, he received the Meritorious Service Medal, the third highest honor given by the military and the highest for a non-combatant. Every year the Air Force gives out the ‘Steve Swigonski Award for Outstanding Paralegal Airman’.
Steve retired from the Air Force in 1972 and he and Jane moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky where they resided for 39 years. While in Bowling Green, Steve worked for 10 years at the law firm of Harlan, Parker, and Rudloff. He then ended his working career as a General Manager of Greenview Hospital in Bowling Green. Upon retiring, he spent many days doing what he loved best—playing golf.
Steve’s legacy in the Air Force also lived on in his son Mark and his grandson Scott, both who attended the Air Force Academy and had careers in the Air Force as pilots.
In 2011, Jane and Steve moved to Indiana and were some of the very first occupants on Spindle Tree Road in Hoosier Village. Steve divided his time between the golf course and helping with check in at the Community Center.
Steve’s wonderful sense of humor, his big smile and his joking pranks will be missed by family and friends.
A service will be held in the Hoosier Village Chapel at 9787 Hoosier Village Drive in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Monday, October 9, 2023, at 1:00 with a visitation at noon. The family asks that a charitable donation be made to The Riley Children’s Foundation (rileykids.org) in lieu of flowers.
Casual attire - Golf or blue (Air Force) attire suggested.
In lieu of flowers, please make a memorial contribution in Mr. Swigonski's name to the Riley Children's Hospital - The Riley Children's Foundation.
Monday, October 9, 2023
12:00 - 1:00pm (Eastern time)
Monday, October 9, 2023
Starts at 1:00pm (Eastern time)