Biography of Calvin E. Swindler
Contributor: crex Created: 2 years ago Updated: 2 years ago
Written in 2012:
Calvin E. Swindler, was born 16 December 1923 in Pratt County Kansas to parents who differed in their religious outlooks. His mother, Anna Benad Swindler, was a faithful Lutheran, perhaps mainly due to the traditions of her German Lutheran ancestors. His father, A.R. Swindler, had investigated many churches in his younger years, gave up finding the true and authoritative church, and mostly studied the Bible and other literature at home on Sundays.
Calvin grew up on the Swindler farm in a home built by his grandfather, O.H. Swindler. He attended Golden Valley School near his home and graduated from Pratt High School in 1941. Soon, Dad was drafted into the U.S. Army during World War II, getting training as a mechanic but serving in cannon artillery in the Pacific.
His war experiences raised questions in his mind, questions that greatly concerned him. He didn't have answers for these questions: What is the purpose and meaning of life? What happens after death? What actions of man are truly significant to God? Who has authority to speak for God?
Gertrude Hansen came to Pratt in 1946 to assist her sister during and after her third pregnancy. Maralee's husband was A.C. Schroeder, pastor of Our Savior's Lutheran Church in Pratt. Our parents first got acquainted when Grandma Swindler invited her pastor and his family to the farm for Sunday dinner. Mom remembered Dad questioning her about religion, especially the doctrines of salvation. Mom gave him Lutheran answers, but commented later that he was never satisfied with those answers.
Gert and Calvin were married 6 June 1948 in Vallonia, Indiana by Gert's father, a Lutheran minister. The newlyweds lived briefly in the Pratt area, then decided to take up wheat farming in Morton County Kansas on land given to Dad by his father, land purchased during the Dust Bowl years. Farming would prove to be a challenging venture. There was no existing home, only a few improvements. It was miles from any town, with few neighbors. The wind blew continually. They had limited resources. In 1949, they travelled the 180 miles from Pratt to their new home, pulling a tractor and a small house trailer that would serve as their dwelling for the next 7 years.
The winter of 1949-1950, Calvin, Gert, and baby Iris were invited to pull their trailer into the back yard of Dad's brother Eugene and his wife in Ulysses. Mom and Dad stayed in Eugene's home while he and his wife were in Pratt for the birth of their first child. It was here that the Mormon missionaries knocked on the door in January 1950.
The rest is history, as they say, with Dad's (and Mom's) life taking an abrupt turn. Initially Dad was skeptical about the doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He took a copy of the Book of Mormon from the missionaries only because he reasoned that the best way to convince these young men of their religious errors was to read their book. Instead, he quickly found the answers to all his questions. The missionary who baptized Dad commented in 2009 that Calvin read every book and pamphlet they could bring to him very quickly. Dad felt the Holy Ghost testifying that what he was reading was true. He studied thoroughly, comparing the Bible with the Book of Mormon. He was baptized April 15, 1950 in Dodge City Kansas.
The following sentence sums up the rest of Dad's life: After baptism, his focus changed from his search to find the truth to the challenge of living the precepts of his newly found church, raising his family, and serving in his church. Dad was analytical, but also a person of action. He wanted his actions to be consistent with what he believed.
Calvin moved his family to Provo, Utah in July 1969. He died there August 22, 1997 with 7 living children, their spouses, 32 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. A baby daughter, Linda, died in 1954. His posterity as of September 2012 includes 125 individuals. There are currently 41 grandchildren and 46 great grandchildren.
Dad was a farmer, who built the family home on the Morton County farm. He was a handyman, photographer, carpenter, mechanic, gardener, creative inventor, family history researcher, and stock-market investor. He was curious about many things, looked at them from various perspectives, and studied many topics. He helped many people and influenced many for good. Most of all, he was true to his faith in every particular.