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Tim Swann remembered for work ethic, writing

August  08, 2012

tim swan

Tim Swann '94, assistant chief of public safety at Augustana, died at home Monday night. He was 60.

Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Hodgson Funeral Home, Rock Island. Funeral services will begin at 1 p.m. Monday at the funeral home. Interment will be at Chippiannock Cemetery, Rock Island. Memorials may be made to a charity of choice.  

Swann joined Augustana facilities services to work security at the residence hall night desks in 1991. During most of the 21 years he served the college, he didn't miss a day of work.

"Tim had 18 of the coffee mugs the college gives for a year of perfect attendance," noted Chief of Public Safety Tom Phillis. He remembers Swann as an exemplary colleague.

"He worked hard and always pushed our department to be better," he said. "You just don't often find anybody with a work ethic like he had."

Phillis nominated Swann for an Augustana College Jaeke Award in 2000, which he won.

While working the night desk in those early years, Swann took courses toward an Augustana bachelor's degree in English, which he earned in 1994. Though his student teaching experience convinced him that his passion was in security rather than teaching English, Swann's ease with writing and storytelling is apparent in a memory he shared with Augustana Magazine, published in the winter 2010 issue.

The memory is of Betsey Brodahl '44, a former dean of students at Augustana who passed away earlier this year, and former Augustana president Conrad Bergendoff '15.

Swann writes:

As far as stories go, by far my favorite concerns a time when Conrad Bergendoff was still living, and he and Betsey made an annual trek to a Messiah performance. The way this worked, Betsey arranged for someone from Security to act as their driver, and for a few years, I was fortunate enough to have the honor...

The first time I was assigned this duty, I was absolutely in awe of both Betsey and Conrad and was somewhat nervous, to say the least. As it happened, we had experienced some nasty weather that day, and the streets were slick. Everything went quite well for most of the trip. Then as I was coming down the 30th Street hill — with Betsey riding shotgun, Conrad in the back seat — I went to make a righthand turn onto 7th Avenue, and the car suddenly went into a slide and did a complete 360 before I was able to regain control.

My heart pounding, I was convinced this would be my last day on the job. I glanced over at Betsey while contemplating how to formulate a suitable apology. Betsey turned to me, with a huge grin on her face, and said: "That was fun! Can we do it again?"

From that day to this, I've always held a very special place in my heart for Betsey and always will.

Tim Swann will be remembered and missed by his friends and colleagues at Augustana.

Survivors include his wife, Shari, and their three grown children.