Date of Death: January 29, 2021
A memorial service will be announced at a later date.
James (Jim) Curtis Swayzee, 72, of Three Rivers, Michigan and Bonita Springs, Florida, passed away on January 29, 2021, at Bronson Medical Center, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, surrounded by his wife, Franziska Swayzee (nee Kainbrecht), and his two children, Eva Verna Van Brunt (nee Swayzee) and James Michael Swayzee.
Jim was born in New Castle, Indiana on October 18, 1948 — the third son to Ernest Wayne Swayzee and Verna Swayzee (nee Clark). He attended Walter P. Chrysler High School where he earned impressive grades, started as varsity football quarterback and set a high school record in pole vaulting. As a teenager, he sang in a Beach Boys-inspired band and forged friendships that he worked actively to keep throughout his highly mobile life. He attended Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana where he obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts. While there, he joined the Delta Tau Delta fraternity, sang in the Glee Club, and was again a starting quarterback on the varsity football team. At Wabash, he also set a longstanding Indiana state record in pole vaulting (14’). He spent his junior year abroad learning Spanish in Bogota, Colombia – a decision that would set him up for a lifetime love of travel and linguistics.
Upon graduating from Wabash in 1970, he enlisted in the United States Army. The Vietnam War was raging and his draft lottery number was low, but with great resourcefulness, Jim was selected to study German at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, California. He was ultimately stationed in Eschwege, Germany where he worked in military intelligence interviewing people that had attempted crossings of the Berlin Wall into Allied territory. During this stint abroad he met his future Austrian-born wife Franziska. After completing his military service, Jim went on to attend graduate school at the University of Southern California where he earned a Master’s Degree in International Business and Economics.
He launched his professional career in management consulting with Booz Allen Hamilton in Paris, France, a position that would send him for the first time to the far corners of the world on projects across a wide array of industries. Jim and Franziska conceived the first of their two children, daughter Eva, in 1976. They were married in 1979 and, in 1981, they conceived their second child, son Jimmy. Jim, Franziska, and their two children would relocate to Indianapolis in the early 1980s, so Jim could join Eli Lilly & Company, beginning in pharmaceutical sales and sparking a long career in pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting. His work there would promote advancements in human growth hormone and the meteoric launch of the anti-depressant Prozac in the 1990s, among many other projects contributing to health and wellness the world over. It is during these years that the family divided their time between Indianapolis, Indiana, Paris, France and London, England. In the latter part of his professional career, Jim transferred to Andersen Consulting (now Accenture), where he became an Associate Partner. He worked for Accenture throughout the late 1990s and early 2000s consulting with pharmaceutical companies and continuing to build his reputation and expertise in the field of business development. At the time of his passing, Jim was still affiliated with the firm CRA International, advising emerging life sciences companies when he could.
Jim was the most devoted to both his family and his career for his entire adult life. In his free time, he was also an avid sports fan – closely following his beloved Hoosier basketball and Dodgers baseball teams no matter where in the world he might have been. He was also a prolific reader and lifelong student of history, politics and economics. He enjoyed nothing more than a good debate with his family around the dinner table and instilled in his children a strong sense of ethics, activism and social responsibility. A thoughtful guide and advisor to many, both professionally and personally, he will be missed beyond words. He was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2009, a disease he fought with remarkable grace and persistence for 12 years.
In addition to his wife and children, Jim is survived by his brother, Jerry Swayzee of Boulder, Colorado; his two grandchildren, Noah Lincoln and Cyrus James Van Brunt; his son-in-law; his daughter-in-law; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the International Myeloma Foundation.
Please Leave Your Condolences
When your condolences are submitted they will not display until approved by the Hohner staff for appropriateness out of respect for their memory. They should appear within 24 hours or less. Thank you for your understanding