John Joseph Swantner, 93, Chili, passed away at 6:36 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, at Dukes Memorial Hospital, Peru.
Born on April 6, 1924, in Valley Park, Mo., he was the oldest of five children raised by William Joseph and Lurah Suzie Long Swantner. 
He married the former Clarabel Chester on Feb. 25, 1945. She preceded him in death in November 1978.
John graduated from Chili High School in 1942 and began his farming career. In February 1948, he purchased a farm in Chili, where he and his wife raised their four children. He had remained on the farm during his retirement. 
John also retired after 20 years as a switchman on the C&O railroad and had worked several years at General Tire in Wabash. He was a lifelong member of the Chili United Methodist Church, where he enjoyed teaching Sunday school class and leading the singing.
During his retirement, John enjoyed playing his guitar and singing with many different bluegrass groups. He was a popular performer, singing his most requested song “Quit Kicking My Dog Around.” He traveled to many music shows with his companion Ellen Gross.
Survivors include two children, Lawrence Joseph Swantner and wife Dale Lautenbach, Hermanus, South Africa, and Leslie Edward Swantner, Chili; son-in-law Robert Holtzlander, Peru; nine grandchildren, Dawn R. Buman, Peru, Quinton J. Swantner, Los Angeles, Calif., Travis H. Swantner, Los Angeles, Calif., Kris A. Foster, Huron, Ohio, Ryan N. Swantner, Missoula, Mont., Kenneth L. Comerford, Shreveport, La., Christina L. Comerford, Denver, Colo., Jace Holtzlander, Peru, and Sarah K.B. Holtzlander, Peru; and a sister, Shirley Guyer, Kokomo.
He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; two children, Steven Alan Swantner and his wife Conne, and Pamela Sue Holtzlander; sister Marilou Neff; and two brothers. George Swantner and Merle Thomas “Dooly” Swantner.
His funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018, at McClain Funeral Home, Denver, with Pastor Alan Ash and Pastor J. Robert Clark officiating. Burial will follow in Chili Community Cemetery. Visitation will be from 3-7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 5, 2018, at the funeral home.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Chili Community Cemetery. The online guest book may be signed at