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John  Aaron Swafford, Jr.
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Obituary for John Aaron Swafford, Jr.

Chattanooga-area businessman and minister, John Aaron Swafford Jr., 85, died peacefully Thursday afternoon, May 25, 2017.

He was born on October 13, 1931, in South Pittsburg, Tennessee to the late John Aaron and Ida Graham Swafford. The youngest of six children, it was often said that his siblings— Howard, Rosa Lee, Geneva, Ruby, and Ruth—seldom allowed his feet to touch the ground. He spent his school years at South Pittsburg playing football and working various jobs to help make ends meet. After graduating high school in 1950, he enrolled at Carson-Newman College and continued to work while playing football on scholarship. Following graduation in 1954, he enrolled at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky and later obtained his master’s degree at MTSU. He pursued his love of learning by obtaining other degrees and certifications throughout the years.

In 1961, he met the love of his life, Wanda Brooks, while preaching at a church in Knoxville, TN. Their marriage would span fifty-five years full of commitment and joy. Together, they welcomed the birth of their two daughters, Marybeth and Amy. He was also a beloved “Pawpaw” to seven grandchildren, Celia, Taylor, Josh, Jacob, Carrie, Caleb, and Aimee Grace, and one great-grandson, John Silas.

After years as a dedicated educator and coach, he “stumbled” into the furniture business while working at Bridgeport High School and pastoring at Rosalee Baptist Church. He would make a reputation for himself by encouraging everyone to “be sure to go to church on Sunday" at the close of each commercial. Over the course of thirty years he opened stores in Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama.

Although he had many passions in his life, including his love of tennis and the Tennessee Vols, his true loves were his family and his Savior. His later years were filled with a missional purpose as he carried the Gospel to India, Korea, and Haiti, and ministered throughout the tri-state area in churches, nursing homes, and local television and radio ministries. His greatest joy was to encourage everyone he met to discover faith, hope, and the unconditional love of Jesus.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brother, Howard Swafford, Sr., and sister-in-law, Claude Galbreath Swafford.

Survivors include his wife of 55 years, Wanda Sue Brooks Swafford; children, Marybeth Swafford (Glen) Kleisley and Amy Carol Swafford (Jake) Dockery; grandchildren, Celia Anzalone, Josh Hill, Carrie Hill, Aimee Grace Morrison, Taylor Dockery (Stephen) VanGorp, Jacob Dockery, and Caleb Dockery; great-grandson, John Silas VanGorp; sisters, Rosa Lee Swafford Pancoast, Geneva Swafford (George) Pomeroy, Ruby Swafford Brundige and Ruth Swafford O’Leary.

Visitation will be Sunday, May 28, 2017 from 11:00am until 2:30pm Central time at Rogers Funeral Home, 400 Laurel Avenue, South Pittsburg, TN.

Funeral services will be held on Sunday at 3:00pm Central time at the First Baptist Church, 306 Fifth Street, South Pittsburg, TN. Burial will be at Sequatchie Valley Memorial Gardens, Jasper, TN.

The family suggests that memorial donations be made to Bethel Bible Village, 3001 Hamill Rd, Hixson, TN 37343 or, or to the Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, PO Box 2206, Brentwood, TN 37024.

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Previous Events





11:00 AM - 2:30 PM
Rogers Funeral Home - South Pittsburg

400 Laurel Avenue
South Pittsburg, TN 37380

All times are Central time.





3:00 PM
First Baptist Church, South Pittsburg

306 5th Street
PO Box 192
South Pittsburg, TN 37380

All times are Central time.

Cemetery Details


Sequatchie Valley Memorial Gardens

3076 Main Street
Jasper, TN 37347

Memorial Contribution

Bethel Bible Village

3001 Hamill Road
Hixson, Tennessee 37343

Tennessee Baptist Children's Home

P.O. Box 2206
Brentwood, Tennessee 37204

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