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July 1, 1936 ~ January 30, 2024 (age 87) 87 Years Old
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Ronald “Stretch” Sweitzer, 87, of Clarion died Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at McKinley Health Center following an illness.
Born July 1, 1936 in Frogtown, he was the son of the late Clair and Mable Eshbaugh Ferringer Sweitzer. Following his mother’s death when he was 18 months old he was raised by his Uncle George and Aunt Hazel Eshbaugh.
He was a graduate of Clarion- Limestone High School.
On May 6, 1956 at the First Baptist Church in Clarion he married the former Bonnie Lou Styers. She preceded him in death.
He worked briefly following high school at O-I in Clarion at which time he was drafted into the U.S. Army where he had a long and distinguished career. He began his career at Fort Monroe, VA. were he was recommended for OTC training at the WAR COLLEGE there, he next served in Korea as a staff member in the Commanding Generals Office . Serving in Germany as a Lieutenant was his next assigned and next stationed in Vietnam where he served as a Captain and Company Commander. Returning to the states he was assigned to the 25thDivision of the Tropical Lighting Company where he finished his last tour, retiring with 20 years of service and being awarded the rank of Major.
During his military career he was awarded numerous medals and awards but the most notable was the “Distinguished Flying Cross’” Medal which is not typically awarded to military personnel.
Following his military career he was a self employed commercial fisherman in Port Angeles, WA. While running his fishing business he often took out on his boat dignitaries and high profile people for fishing trips. One notable occasion Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter joined him for an excursion. Following the trip and after having such an enjoyable time, Jimmy Carter made and sent him a plaque awarding him“Admiral of the Georgia Navy”. In retirement he and his wife owned and operated a Campground and RV Park in Olympia, WA.
His memberships included Trout Unlimited, Ducks Unlimited, NRA and the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
He enjoyed fishing (Big Water, Little Water… ANY Water), hunting, and entertaining guest with his wife, Bonnie.
Those surviving are his brothers, Clair “Jay” Sweitzer and Russell (Sherry) Sweitzer; his sister, Carla Sweitzer; his nephews, Eric and Josh; his nieces, Gloria, Cathy, Beverly, Tina, Marla, Norma, Jeanine and Sonya; as well as close friends, Bri and Jeff Banner and family, Cindy and Paul Curran, Rick and Susan Rathfon, Edie and Duane Quinn, and Missy and Buck Elliot.
In addition to his parents and wife he was preceded in death by his brothers, Ferman “Guss” Sweitzer and Wayne Sweitzer.
His family will receive friends on Saturday, February 17, 2024 from 10-11AM at Furlong Funeral Home, 50 Broad St., Summerville, PA. with funeral services to immediately follow at 11AM with the Rev. Joseph Short, Brookville First United Methodist Church, officiating.
Interment will be held at 1PM at Clarion Cemetery, Clarion County also on Saturday, February 17, 2024 with a Military Honor Service to be rendered at the graveside.
Friends and family may order flowers, leave online condolences, light a memorial candle, share a memory and obtain additional information by visiting www.furlongfuneralhome.com.