Cover photo for Ernie Swafford's Obituary
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1933 Ernie 2023

Ernie Swafford

December 1, 1933 — October 4, 2023

Ernie Emmett Swafford, age 89, a longtime resident of Bradley County passed away peacefully on Wednesday morning, October 4, 2023 at his home surrounded by his family. He was born in Decatur, Tennessee on December 1, 1933 to the late Daily and Narcy Johnson Swafford. Ernie was of Baptist faith. He was an avid Coon Hunter and in his younger years his favorite past time was training and owning many world-class coon hunting dogs and spending time in the woods. He accumulated numerous trophies and wins throughout his many years in the sport. Ernie was quick witted and had a great sense of humor and enjoyed playful banter and teasing with family and friends. He loved the game of Rook and teaching his children, their spouses and the grandchildren the trick-taking game of cards. He was the master of bidding, playing the bird and taking all the tricks! You definitely had to be on your toes playing Rook with Ernie. His favorite summertime pastimes were making and eating homemade ice cream and having watermelon under the shade trees with his family and grandchildren. Ernie was a very quiet man who had a special way about him and he would share wisdom and guidance to others in his quiet confident way. One of his favorite sayings he would say to you as you left his home was: "You Be Good"! In his retirement years you could always find him in his favorite recliner watching his cowboy shows!!! He was affectionately known to his family and to his 8 grandchildren - Tim, Will, Ashley, Hope, Zachary, Haley, Taylor and Shelby as "Papa". Ernie also has 14 great- grandchildren and 1 great, great grandson who he met this past August.

At the age of 18, Ernie enlisted in the Army of the United States. He valued this service highly and his position as a Military Police Officer. He was honorably discharged on September 30, 1961 with a certificate awarded as a testimonial of honest and faithful service. After his military service ended he went to work for Metal Plate Company in Chattanooga, TN and eventually found his way to Cleveland, TN where he accepted the position of Plant Manager and enjoyed a long, successful career. He had 42 years with the company at his retirement. He set a great example for his children and taught them the meaning of a good, strong work ethic and what it means to "show up" for family and friends.

The love of his life of 62 years was his late wife JoAnn Swafford. Ernie leaves behind to cherish his memory three daughters, Lisa Davis and her husband Bryan, Leigh Ann Buckner and her husband Keith, Leslie Orr and her husband Ed and one son, Larry Swafford and his wife, Denise, along with a host of extended family and friends.

Along with his wife and parents he was preceded in death by his brothers, Robert J Swafford (Bob), Fred R Swafford, Elmer F Swafford and his sister Myrtle Swafford Minnis. He is survived by one sister, Ella Faye Stafford Sliger of Decatur, Tennessee and one brother, J.C. Swafford of Adairsville, Georgia.

In accordance with Ernie's wishes, no memorial service will be held. There will be a private graveside ceremony for family on Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 11:00 AM, at Sunset Memorial Gardens, Cleveland, Tennessee. His family asks that you remember him in your own way. He will be deeply missed and his memory will be forever cherished.

Thanks to the nurses and caregivers of Hearth Hospice and special thanks to Nurse Gayle who has cared and looked after our Dad for the last several months. We also appreciate and thanks goes to caregiver, Bethany McDaniel, RN.

You are encouraged to share a memory of Ernie and/or your personal condolences with his family by visiting his memorial webpage and guestbook at Companion Funeral Home of Cleveland is honored to assist his family with these arrangements.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

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