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Obituary of Fred N. Swader

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Dr. Fred N. Swader, 88, passed away unexpectedly on January 19, 2023. Fred was born on October 9th, 1934, in Belle Vernon, PA, son of the late Mary Kozak Swader and Nicholas Swader.


Fred was deeply influenced in childhood by the loving kindness of his maternal grandparents Fred and Ann Kozak. Fred spent his formative years on a farm in Odessa, NY, and there began his love of soils and tractors.

Upon graduation from high school in 1952, Fred began evening classes at Elmira College while working for Westinghouse Corporation. He served in the US Army from 1953-1955. Upon returning from active duty, he worked at the American Bridge Division of US Steel in Elmira Heights, NY, as a structural draftsman. In 1956, he decided to pursue higher education at Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Fred earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Agriculture and Soils Science, culminating in attaining a Doctor of Philosophy degree in 1968. Fred remained at Cornell, serving on the faculty in the Department of Agronomy where he played a prominent role in the NYS Cooperative Extension Service. Fred was broadly recognized for his expertise and work in the Extension Service and in 1981 was recruited to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. There he served as National Program Leader for Water Resources, Coordinator of the Extension Indian Reservation Program, and special assistant to the Office of the Secretary.

Upon his retirement from the USDA, Fred and Nancy moved to Mifflinburg/Lewisburg, PA. Never one to sit idle, Fred joined Bucknell University as a Faculty Associate, was involved with the Buffalo Valley Sportsmen’s Assoc., and was an active volunteer at the Mifflinburg Buggy Museum and the Lewisburg Library.

He is survived by his loving wife of 45 years Nancy Prince Swader; sister Jean Magacs; daughter Cherith (John) Keeton; stepchildren Mark (Donna) Fidler, Julie (Mitch) Addy; grandchildren Forrest (Jenna) Keeton, Maeve (Nick) Marenakos, Marshall (Tyler Hatton-Bullock) Keeton, Kaitlin (Kevin) Bryant, Kelsey (Jeff Bittner) Addy, Anthony Fidler, Mandy McDaniel, Leah Ann Hooper (Dr. Marshall Trabout), Mariah Noden; a handful of great-grandchildren whom he delighted in; and several nieces, nephews, and cousins. He was preceded in death by his son, Frederick Swader; brother Bill Swader; step-brother Dennis Reppert; and half-sister Dawn Swader Martz.

Fred was a life-long learner who possessed and pursued many interests throughout his life, including sailing, flying, fishing, hiking, gardening, reading and travel. Fred will be warmly remembered as a kind and helpful neighbor and volunteer, and a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather.

A private service for family will be held in the Spring. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Perkins Funeral Home (https://www.perkinsfh.com/)

Memorial donations may be made in Fred’s honor to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, St. Joseph’s Indian School (www.stjo.org), Heifer International, FINCA (www.FINCA.org), Oxfam (www.oxfamamerica.org), or your local food bank.

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