Date of Death: December 27, 2020

Service Details

A funeral to honor Willard’s life will be held on Monday, January 4, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. at Hohner Funeral Home, 1004 Arnold St., Three Rivers with Willard’s pastor, The Rev. Heather McDougall-Walsh, officiating. Visitation will precede the service beginning at 12:00 noon. Social distancing guidelines will be followed.

Military honors will be conducted at the funeral home under the auspices of American Legion Hice-Shutes Post #170.

Willard will be laid to rest in Marcellus Cemetery.

Obituary Notice

Willard Richard Swartz, 98, of Three Rivers, passed away on Sunday, December 27, 2020.

He was born in Marcellus on June 2, 1922, the son of Cloyd and Mabel (Gearhart) Swartz.

After graduating from Marcellus High School with the Class of 1940, Willard proudly served his country in the U.S. Army.

He was a member of American Legion Post #170, First United Methodist Church of Three Rivers, Michigan Chapter 94th Division, Michigan Fiddlers Association, Three Rivers Masonic Lodge #57 F & AM, and was a Lifetime Member of the Disabled American Veterans.

Following 10 years of employment at Fairbanks-Morse Co., he worked for almost 38 years as a machinist at Armstrong International.

Willard’s travels included all 83 counties in Michigan, 50 United States, six continents, 11 World Fairs or Expos, and – in 1973 – around the world.

He volunteered with the Amish, Commission on Aging, church, friends, neighbors and veterans.

Willard is survived by nephews, Allen (Pat) Butchbaker, Steven (Tracey) Swartz, Larry (Reva) Cooper; nieces, Louise Albin, Kay (Skip) Budny and Roberta (Charles) Wiggins; several great-nieces and nephews, several great-grand nieces and nephews, and many cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother Harold Swartz; sisters, Mary Butchbaker and Florence Cooper.

Additional Information

To make a lasting gift in Willard’s name, please consider First United Methodist Church or the St. Joseph County Commission on Aging. Envelopes are available at the funeral home in care of Willard’s arrangements.

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  1. During my years as Administrator of several of the area Nursing Homes, Willard was a Faithful Volunteer visiting many of the residents and usually delivery of the Methodist Church Sunday Bulletins. He was cheerful and always shared of encouragement. I had the privilege of visiting him at the Meadows AFC in Three Rivers and his sense of humor was maintained….I will miss him !!

  2. Gary and I purchased our farm land from Willard in 1992 but the greatest gift was to enjoy his company as he regularly visited as he enjoyed driving.
    What an exceptional human being he was for sure. His love of life animals and enjoying every minute of it he was an inspiration.
    His generosity of sharing his wealth of knowledge in genealogy and history was nothing short of amazing.
    He will sadly be missed by all who had the pleasure of knowing him.

  3. I met willard at McDonalds a very sweet and kind man that i will forever call my friend we had really good talks i will always remember him saying from my house to McDonalds it takes me 2 miles and 2 tenths love and prayers to his family love and miss you willard

  4. Dear dear Willard,,,, what an honor it was to care for u at Birch Meadows!!!! Willard was the dearest gentleman,,,, we sure enjoyed his story’s of his life journey!!!! U will be missed😢 Love always DENA BONTRAGER

  5. Willard was my neighbor, lived across the street from me, on Constantine Street. We got to know each other well,
    and became friends. He was a kind, generous and a true gentleman. I will never forget you. Rest in Peace now my friend of many years. Judy Gilchrist-Mohney, Stayton, Oregon.

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