Virginius “Gene” Thomas Swimme passed away on April 13, 2022 at the age of 85 after being diagnosed with Leukemia on April 3rd. He died peacefully, at home in Portland, Tennessee with his family by his side.
Gene was born on September 21, 1936 in Portsmouth, Virginia and attended Woodrow Wilson High School. He met his wife, Barbara Mahoney Swimme at the City Assessor’s office in Portsmouth, and they married in 1968. They moved to Stone Mountain, Georgia in 1974 and raised two daughters there.
He was a hard worker, and instilled the same values in his daughters. He taught them they could do anything they wanted if they set their mind to it. If anyone uttered the word “can’t”, he would reply, “Can’t never could.” He also believed if you were going to do something, you should do it right the first time. Gene could fix or build just about anything and was always there to lend a hand to family, friends and neighbors.
After retiring, Gene and Barbara moved to Portland, Tennessee to be closer to family. Gene was a remarkable craftsman and spent most of his spare time in his shop doing woodworking. He loved spending time with family (especially the grandkids) and would make plenty of desserts every time the family was together. He was always experimenting with new recipes and was best known for his banana pudding, pumpkin rolls and éclair pie.
During the pandemic the last two years, he and Barbara spent time together driving around their property in the golf cart, visiting with family outdoors when the weather permitted, and watching all 635 episodes of Gunsmoke. They made the most of it, but he always missed hugging his grandkids, weekly breakfasts with “Santa”, and their annual trips to Abingdon to vacation with his sisters.
Gene is survived by his wife of 54 years, Barbara Anne Mahoney Swimme; sisters Mary Katherine Swimme Barfield (Richard) and Shirley Ann Swimme Croft; daughters Melanie Swimme Hajacos (Tony) and Wendy Swimme Herrington (David); grandchildren Taylor Leigh-Anne Hajacos, Hannah Peyton Hajacos and Tyler Freeman Roe; and great-grandson Kai Mason Thomas. He was preceded in death by his parents Seneca Xenephon Swimme II and Eloise Cecelia Owens Swimme; siblings Eloise Cecelia Swimme Craven, Seneca Xenephon Swimme III, Margaret Josephine Swimme Costell and James Frances Swimme.
Gene touched so many lives and will be missed by everyone who knew him. An online store will be set up to honor Gene and sell some of his woodworking pieces.
The family will be honoring his life in private. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Happy Trails Children’s Foundation, 10755 Apple Valley Road, Apple Valley, CA 92308.
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