Dean Ripley Swift Was Veteran, Island Official

Dean Ripley Swift of Vineyard Haven died unexpectedly at Falmouth Hospital on June 20 from aspiration pneumonia. He is survived by his beloved wife of 52 years, Catherine Moran Swift, his son, Alaric Kane Swift and his beloved daughter in law, Nancy Gaynelle Smith-Swift.

Following in the footsteps of his grandfather, father and four uncles, Dean pursued a career in land surveying, engineering, real estate and politics. He established his own business in 1955, operating it until his retirement in 1991.

Immediately upon graduation from Tisbury High School in 1943, he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the 53rd Military Police Company, European Theater, until his discharge in 1946, at which time he was awarded the European African Middle Eastern Theater Campaign Ribbon, Army of Occupation Medal of Germany, the Good Conduct Medal and the Victory Medal.

He was elected to the position of Dukes County commissioner and served two terms from 1962 to 1968. He was the youngest county commissioner to serve, having been elected to the position at 37 years of age.

Dean served on the board of trustees and board of investment at Dukes County Savings Bank for more than 30 years until his retirement in 2003.

He was a life member of the American Legion Post 257, a member of the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution and a member of the Edgartown Golf Club.

He was an avid golfer and enjoyed hunting, fishing, gardening and carpentry.

He was predeceased by his parents, Dean Hazelton Swift and Kathryn Ripley Swift; his brother, Paul W. Swift, and sisters Janice Swift and Nancy Swift Franke. He is survived by his brother's wife, Anne Moran Swift, her four children and their eight grandchildren. He is also survived by six children of Nancy Swift Franke and her seven grandchildren. He is also survived by his three cousins, Glen Searle and Kevin Searle of Edgartown and Janet LaValley of Fall River, the children of his cousin, the late Karen Swift Searle.

Private funeral services for the family were held on Saturday, June 26, in the chapel of Chapman, Cole & Gleason Funeral Home, Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road, Oak Bluffs. The Rev. Leon Oliver officiated, assisted by the Rev. Michael R. Nagle. Interment was in the family plot of Dean and Catherine Swift at Oak Grove Cemetery, Tisbury, with full military honors provided by the veterans of Martha's Vineyard.

A memorial service will be held at Christ United Methodist Church, Church street, Vineyard Haven, at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 14.

Donations in memory of Dean may be made to the National Stroke Association, 9707 E. Easter Lane, Englewood, CO 80112, or the charity of your choice.