Obituary: Charles Swygert, 81, of Ludington

October 24, 2022

Charles Swygert

Obituary: Charles Swygert, 81, of Ludington

Charles William Swygert, 81, of Ludington lost his long battle with liver cancer on Saturday, October 22, 2022. Charles was given the news that he had stage 4 liver cancer in February of 2022 and took the news in stride saying that he lived a great life full of good times and great accomplishments. He said he was very fortunate to have been given the opportunity to live as long as he did and see his family grow and prosper.

Charles was born on November 27, 1940 in Graniteville, South Carolina and grew up in rural Batesburg/Leesville, South Carolina as the son of William Carl and Sadie (Crapps) Swygert. He attended Batesburg/Leesville High School and excelled in all sports especially football and baseball, as well as working on the family beef farm. After graduation he left South Carolina to serve his country by enlisting in the United States Coast Guard. He was stationed in Galveston, Texas for a short time before being selected to go to school to become a yeoman. After graduating from yeoman school he was assigned to Coast Guard Station Ludington where he proudly served. He quickly rose through the ranks and attained the rank of yeoman second class petty officer in under two years.  While stationed there he met Barbara Jean Gustafson (Ueth) and they married on August 18, 1962, celebrating 37 years together before Barbara preceded him in death on April 17, 1999.  After honorably completing his four-year enlistment, Charles, Barbara and her daughter Gale moved back to rural South Carolina to raise their family together. Upon their return, they realized that they liked Michigan better, so they packed up their belongings and returned to Ludington. Soon after returning to Michigan, Barbara gave birth to her second child Stewart and within a year, their third child Kevin.

In Ludington, both Charles and Barbara were employed at Harbison Walker Refractory for many years, where Barbara worked as the plant purchasing agent and Charles as a shaft kiln operator until his retirement in 2003.

After saving up some money, in the spring of 1971, they decided to move out to the country and buy a fruit farm on West Hawley Road south of Ludington where they raised their three children and countless varieties of apples, and cherries.

Charles excelled at raising several different varieties of fruit with the assistance of his family and close friends. He was recognized by his peers as a top notch farmer.  Charlie, as he was referred to by his many friends, was a very kind and generous person. He would often give his hard work to others so they could enjoy the fruits of his labors as much as he did.

His real passion was investing in the education of his children and grandchildren.  After the untimely passing of his wife in 1999, he made a commitment to invest in his grandchildren’s educational wellbeing.  All his grandchildren whom attended college were given money to help pay for their education because he believed that a good education is priceless. As time passed he would come to see all six of his grandchildren receive degrees in each of their respective fields.

Even after retiring from his regular job he continued to farm as much as his body would allow.  He loved getting out on a tractor and riding around the orchard to check the progress of his crops.

Along with his beloved wife Barbara, Charles was preceded in death by his mother Sadie Crapps Swygert in 1973, his father William Carl Swygert in 2011, and his brother Paul Wilford Swygert in 2017.

His greatest joy was raising a family and growing fruit to share with his family and friends.

Charles will be greatly missed by his daughter, Gale Jean (Ueth) Collison of Missouri and her husband David, and their sons Gregory and Michael and daughters Sabrina and Katherine; his son Stewart William Swygert of Virginia and wife Anita, and their sons Karl and Adam; his son Kevin Walter Swygert of Ludington; his sisters Lynda (Talmadge) Shealy and Carnell (George) Smith both of Batesburg/Leesville, South Carolina; and his companion of several years Katie McPike of Ludington.

A ceremony to celebrate Charles life will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, October 28 at Wyman Funeral & Cremation Services in Scottville with burial and honor guard rites to follow at Lakeview Cemetery in Ludington.  Friends may meet with his family on Thursday evening from 6 to 8 p.m., and on Friday morning from 10 to 11 a.m. at the funeral home.  Those who wish to remember Charles with a memorial donation are asked to please consider T.W.I.G. at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, a local fund to assist cancer patients with their fight.

Please visit Charles memory page at to leave a tribute of Charles for his family to read, or to light a candle in his memory.

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