SUMMER READING – Award winning author Amy Butcher, left, listens to her Sitka Fine Arts Camp creative non-fiction writing student Tayla Eaton, of Kodiak, read at the Backdoor Cafe Wednesday morning. Butcher took her class to read essays they wrote in class during the two-week camp, which is wrapping up this week. Students are giving final performances in a variety of artistic disciplines tonight and Saturday at 7 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center. (Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

Celebration of Life Set For David Swearingen

Sitka Fire Chief David Swearingen, center, is pictured with Alaska Day Festival
Keystone Kops. (Photo provided)


Lifelong Alaskan David Otis Swearingen passed away at age 65 on April 9, 2019, in Sitka.  
A celebration of life will be held at the Sitka Fire Department, 209 Lake Street, starting at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 18.  Friends and family are encouraged to come and share this time together. 
Dave was born Sept. 27, 1953, in Sitka to Anna (Polly) Jackson and Edward (Shorty) Swearingen Jr.
He attended school in Sitka through his high school freshman year. He then moved to Anchorage with his parents, when his dad, Shorty, closed up shop at Totem Electric and went north to find work in the electrician field.  Dave finished his schooling in Anchorage, where he met and in February 1973 married Ann Davis.
Dave moved his family back to Sitka and started his career with the IBEW Local 1547.  He was a 40-year member of the IBEW, as well as the Elks and Moose Lodges.
Dave’s heart was always to be a firefighter.  That was his hobby, his interest, and, finally, his livelihood. 
Dave became a volunteer firefighter and an EMT, and was with Search and Rescue around 1974.  But most of all, Dave was always interested in what caused the fire in the first place. He had the thought that he might want to be a fire and arson investigator in his retirement years. 
The fire department’s Plexatron Scanner was on 24/7 and Dave was always “ready to roll.”  While working as an electrician, he volunteered with the Sitka Fire Department for about 10 years. When an opening came up as an engineer, he applied for and received the job.  Dave worked his way “up the ladder,” where he reached assistant fire chief.
Sometimes he would take a leave of absence from the Fire Hall to take a dispatch with the IBEW, to keep up with his trade.
Dave was also a lifetime member of the Fire and Arson Investigation Association, as he had become that fire investigator he’d once thought of being.
Dave retired from the Sitka Fire Department in May 2012. 
Dave’s other love were his two sons and three granddaughters.  He was so proud of each of them, and talked often of them to his Sitka Fire Department family.
Dave was preceded in death by his mother, Anna Swearingen; his dad, Edward Swearingen Jr.; and his son, David Otis Swearingen II.
Dave is survived by his son, Nathan Tyr Swearingen, wife Samantha Herver and daughter, Lola Swearingen;  Jaclyn Regis, the mother of his son David Otis Swearingen II’s daughters Haily Brooke Cook and Savannah Swearingen; Dave’s sister, Edna Gibson-Zura (husband,  Michael Zura); Dave’s brother Ed Swearingen (wife Toni); and  numerous nieces and nephews.
Honorary pallbearers are Nick Goddard, Monty Johns, Ed Swearingen, Edna Gibson-Zura and members of the Sitka Fire Department.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation to the Sitka Volunteer Fire Department, 209 Lake Street, Sitka, Alaska.
Cards may be mailed to Dave’s son, Nathan Tyr Swearingen, at P.O. Box 1666, Sitka, Alaska 99835.

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