Pastor Kenneth G. Swick, 75, was called home into the arms of the Lord on Feb. 17, while vacationing in Panama. Known as Pastor Ken to many, he shared his love of Christ, his passion for life, and his caring spirit with so many people from Pennsylvania to Delaware and to the Eastern Shore of Virginia.
For 28 years, Pastor Ken preached at Upper Bermudian Lutheran Parish – Mt. Zion and Ground Oak churches, both in Gardners, Pa.
In the past year, he was called out of retirement to serve the parishioners of Melfa United Methodist Church in Melfa, Va.
Ken was a retired Senior Master Sergeant, having served in the U. S. Air Force and the Air National Guard 193rd Special Operations Unit out of Middletown, Pa. He served his country starting from the Vietnam War, to Desert Storm, and finishing his 32 years of service in Afghanistan.
During his time in Laos during the Vietnam War, Ken fell in love with the people of Laos. He always felt that Laos needed more support following the war, so he worked to rescue refugee families and re-settle them in the United States. He also worked with Laotian agencies to help build schools and fund scholarships for Laotian children.
Many of the families he helped relocate are now considered members of his own family. It was also his time in Laos during and after the Vietnam War that inspired Ken’s first book, “Sabai Sabai,” which was published first in 2001, then re-released in 2017.
For more than 30 years, Ken and his wife, Anne, lived on a 50-acre farm in York Springs, Pa. They were members of the Bermudian Jaycees, often helping at the funnel cake stand at multiple festivals. He was a softball coach for many years with Bermudian School District. He was a business owner, operating Orient Expressions, which aimed to showcase and sell handmade crafts and teak furniture made by local artisans and small businesses in Laos. Ken was also a member of the Masonic Lodge and National Sojourners.
In 2011, Ken and Anne retired and moved to Delaware – first to Georgetown and then to Lewes. During this time, they traveled to the Eastern Shore of Virginia and fell in love with Wachapreague. In 2018, the couple moved fulltime to Wachapreague where Ken also served on town council and was involved in community events.
Pastor Ken wore many hats during his incredible life. He was pastor and advisor to everyone he met. He especially sought to help those who had overcome challenging times in their lives. He truly embodied the golden rule – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. He was an author, a pastor, a husband, a father, and a friend to all.
Ken is survived by his loving wife, Anne; his children, Bill Swick (Pompano Beach, Fla.), Mary Love (Biglerville, Pa.), Rachel (husband, Ryan Mavity, of Milford, Del.), Eden (husband, Andrew Hade, Hebron, Md.), and Kendra (husband, Tim Stilwell, of San Antonio, Texas); and by his 10 grandchildren, Aidan and Anya Swick; Grace, Hannah, and Eli Love; Alex and Jane Mavity; and Laine, Ray, and Kent Hade. He is also survived by his Laotian family and the many friends and loved ones he found along his journey. We all take comfort in the good works Pastor Ken was able to bring to our lives.
He is predeceased by his mother, Marian Swick; his father, Wilton G. Swick; and his sister, Bonnie Mae Mech.
Memorial services have been held by Pastor Ken’s church family at Melfa United Methodist Church. Burial and Celebration of Life services with full military veteran honors will be held at Upper Bermudian Lutheran Church in Gardners, Pa., April 6, at 10:30 a.m. Memorial services will also be held at Melfa United Methodist Church Saturday, April 13, at 4:30 p.m.
Memorial contributions can be made in Pastor Ken’s name to Melfa United Methodist Church, 19444 Main St., Melfa, VA 23410, or to Upper Bermudian Lutheran Church, 185 Ground Oak Church Rd., Gardners, PA 17324.