James Lee Swofford

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James Lee Swofford

June 26, 1920 - September 29, 2018

James Lee Swofford, age 98, passed away Saturday, September 29 at Cullman Regional Medical Center. He was born in the high mountains of North Carolina in 1920, but also lived in his youth in Spartanburg, South Carolina. In 1941 he graduated from Wofford College, and immediately entered the U.S. Army, serving for three years in the Pacific theatre during World War II. He also later served in Korea before retiring with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in 1963. After obtaining his Master's Degree and teaching certificate from the University of Alabama, he taught both German and history for 20 years at Cullman High School, retiring in 1985. Mr. Swofford was instrumental in organizing the original Cullman Oktoberfest, serving as Burgermeister in 1986. He also started the Cullman High School German Band, even though he did not play an instrument.
Over his long life, Jim Swofford was recognized for his commitment to his two careers, his students, his community, and his family. He was recognized by the military with two Bronze Stars, three Army Commendation medals, and the Combat Infantry Badge. He earned two Outstanding Teacher awards and the Cullman City Schools Foundation Award for Distinguished Service. Always a patriot, he was recognized by the VFW for placing the flags along Highway 31 to celebrate patriotic holidays. And for the past 55 years, he was a devoted Bama football fan. We're quite sure he's cheering "Roll Tide" alongside Bear Bryant right now.
Jim married Mary Theolene Burnham in 1947. After she passed away in 1994, he married his current wife, Betty, in 2003. He is survived by Betty, his sons Steve (Donna), Randy and Philip (Kathy), grandchildren Keith (Moriah) and Rachel Swofford and Jacki Gil (Rudy), and great-grandchild Gemma Gil.
Jim Swofford's legacy is hundreds of students who maintain he was the best teacher they ever had, and that he had a profound influence on their lives. His loving family is so grateful to have enjoyed his company for so many years. He will indeed be missed.
The family would like to express its appreciation to the nursing staff at Cullman Regional Medical Center and Southern Care Hospice for the attentive care they provided to Mr. Swofford.
Visitation is set for Wednesday, October 3, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. at St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Cullman, followed by the services at noon. A private graveside service will follow at Welti Cumberland Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be sent to St. Paul's Lutheran Church.
Moss Service Funeral Home is directing. Visit mossservicefh.com to leave online condolences
Published on October 1, 2018
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5 posts

Debbie Tortorigi-Alston
Oct 04, 2018
Randy, Steve and family,
Since I learned of your father's passing, I find myself thinking of you and your family and how much we will all miss him. His life history is truly a testament to his greatness as a person.
I am comforted because I am one of the lucky ones whose life was touched by this very special man. I join you and the many others who will miss him, but I remain grateful still for having known him.
God bless you all and surround you with loving care.
Love to all,
Greg Bailey
Oct 03, 2018
My condolences to the Swofford family on the passing of Mr. Swofford.

He was my German teacher at CHS in the mid 70s and my favorite teacher. He helped me to expand my horizons beyond my hometown and was instrumental in my life long appreciation of the German language and culture.

My wife and I consider him a true friend and are greatly saddened by his passing.
Lucie Evers Hallock
Oct 02, 2018
Herr Swofford, Ich weiss nicht was zoll est bedeuten das Ich so traurig bin. My fondest high school memories include you. Rest In Peace. May the Lord’s peace comfort your loved ones, especially my friend Philip.
Tish Oden
Oct 02, 2018
Randy, I am so sorry. I regret I didn't ever meet your father. I missed the opportunity to know a great man.. His history is mind boggliing! What an outstanding person.
Love to you ,
Regina Johnson Thayer
Oct 02, 2018
Steve, my heart is saddened at your loss. Your dad was one of my favorite teachers and a lovely, gentle man. You and your family have my heartfelt condolences.