Captain Thomas (Tug) George Swartzlander Jr., 65, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 8, 2020 after a courageous battle with brain cancer. By his side was his loving wife of 29 years, Barbara. He was preceded in death by his father Thomas George Swartzlander and his mother, Mary Josephine Swartzlander.
Thomas was born in Columbus, Ohio and graduated from North High School in 1972 while pursuing his dream of flying. At age 15, Tug was employed at a small airport in Columbus, Ohio to earn money for flying lessons. He was awarded his private pilot’s license at the young age of 16 and his passion for flying was fully established.
After completion of high school, Tom enlisted in the United States Air Force and served four and a half years as a meteorologist based in Germany. Upon his honorable discharge from the Air Force, Tom attended Arizona State University and graduated in 1982 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Aviation.
He continued flying both as a career pilot and for pleasure for the next 50 years. Tug began his career flying private jets and by the time he retired, had achieved the rank of Captain flying the Boeing 767 at UPS (United Parcel Service). One of his goals was to fly to or visit all 7 continents which he accomplished in 2020 with a cruise to Antarctica.
As a private pilot he continuously challenged himself by learning to fly countless models of aircraft, including the 1943 Stinson L-5 which he proudly flew for the Virginia Commemorative Air Force (CAF).
Tom generously donated his time by volunteering in air shows and various flying clubs. One of his proudest moments was flying the 1943 Stinson L-5 Sentinel aircraft over the National Mall in Washington DC during “The Arsenal of Democracy World War II Capital Fly Over” celebrating the 70th anniversary of VE-day.
Tom was a member of many pilot associations and flying clubs including Quiet Birdmen, American Legion, Commemorative Air Force, Independent Pilots Association, and a life time member of EAA (Experimental Aircraft Association). Left to cherish his memory is his wife, Barbara, sisters Karen Fountain, Gretchen (Jeff) Miller and Lisa (Dave) Osborn, his nieces and nephew Jennifer, Jessica, Rebecca, Linda, and Scott and many loving and supportive friends. He will be truly missed.
In lieu of flowers please consider donating in Tom’s name to Sheila’s Place of Va. Beach or Winks from God! Brain Tumor Support Group 0f Hampton.
Tug, always fly high in perfect skies!