Dunmorean of the Month: Tom Swinick

By Steve Svetovich

Dunmore lost a great man in mid November.

He was synonymous with the Swinick Development.

Tom Swinick died at age 65 this past Nov. 15, just days before Thanksgiving.

He was survived by his beloved wife of 41 years, the former Geralyn Noone, his high school sweetheart.

Swinick was a family man, friend, man of faith, and he believed in a strong work ethic.

He loved his customers and shared their happiness when they were moving into a new home.

“A quality home is the only kind you can afford.”

Custom built. Choice lots. Fine features.

He was most known as owner and operator of the Swinick Development, Dunmore, and the Countryside Apartment Complex, Hollisterville.

He was a dedicated businessman to his craft of building a quality custom-built home.

And his reputation was impeccable. Never tarnished.

He was president of Swinick Homes and Swinick Realty Company. He was a member of the Lackawanna County Home Builders Association, and for over 30 years the San Cataldo Club in Dunmore.

Born and raised in Dunmore, he was the son of Margaret A. Marhevka Swnick of Florida and the late Zachary T. Swinick.

A 1974 graduate of Scranton Preparatory School, he received a bachelor of science degree. in finance and an MBA from the University of Scranton.

Tom Swinick is shown on a bulldozer in his development back in 1979.

A proud man, he valued his customers who he always felt should be happy in their “Swinick home.”

There were even several customers who built a second home with him. Some built larger homes and others downsized, but wanted to stay in “The Swinick Development.”

Swinick’s wife Geralyn said he had a photographic memory regarding water pipes, sewer pipes, and gas lines within the development.

“His customers would call him and Tom would answer questions regarding where any important information was for them,” she said  “He always remembered exactly where he purchased their siding, shingles, or whatever.

“My heart is heavy, but filled with great pride for a man who made a lifelong effort to be professional and honest. He was always ‘on call’ for his customers and took tremendous pride in his work”

Tom and Geralyn Swinick, who were high school sweethearts, are shown in 1992 in the 600 block of East Swinick Drive.

The Swinicks married in 1980, but had known each other since 1974.The couple had three daughters: Mellody Swinick, Roaring Brook Township; Laura Swinick Fierro and Sarah Swinick, both of Dunmore; and a son Thomas Swinick, Dunmore. A son-in-law Anthony Fierro and two grandchildren Nicholas, 4, and Matthew, 1, Roaring Brook Township, also survive.

Swinick’s late dad Zachary Swinick founded the Swinick Development in 1965. However, the younger Swinick started working for his dad at age 14 in 1970. He started building homes himself in 1987.

In 1988, he started Phase 4 and Phase 5 of the Swinick Development. His promise to customers was always “quality custom built homes.” And he held true to his words.

“He was a family man first,” said his wife. “However he took great pride in satisfying the people in his homes. He worked all the time, only taking time off for his family. He took pride in handing the keys over to his customers after the homes were built. Working 12 hour days was the norm for him. His strong work ethic may have contributed to heart issues.

“He liked doing all of the work himself, including the accounting and the billing. He was all hands on.”

The Fourth of July was the prominent Dunmore home builder’s birthday. “That was his favorite holiday,” his wife said. “He loved to be out on the back deck, grilling, having a cookout with family and friends and watching the fireworks on the Fourth.”

Swinick was a member of SS Anthony and Rocco Parish, Dunmore, and former member of Christ the King Church, Dunmore.

“He took great pride in his church and used to say the Saint Rocco’s Church picnic was the best in the world. And he believed it.”

An industrious, honest man, Swinick loved being “Pop” to his two grandchildren, loved the New York Yankees, and enjoyed walking his family dog, Bulldozer, in the Swinick Development.

Doin’ Dunmore: Couple’s Fond Memories of First Swinick Home

By Steve Svetovich

The late Tom Swinick’s first Swinick home was built in 1987 for Robert and Mary Ann Fitzpatrick.

“A quality home is the only kind you can afford.”

Custom built. Choice lots. Fine features. The Swinick Development in Dunmore.

Swinick, who died this past Nov. 15, did not disappoint the Fitzpatrick couple, who are still enjoying their home to this day.

This house located at 421 Shirley Lane was the first sold by the late Tom Swinick in his new development.

The home is located at 421 Shirley Lane, Dunmore.

The home originally was supposed to be 401 Shirley Lane. But due to a simple error made in the County assessor’s office the address became 421 Shirley Lane.

Bobby Fitzpatrick, known by all of his friends as Fitz, explained. “The home is the first in that phase of the development,” he said. “It was originally supposed to be 401 Shirley Lane, but the individual in the County assessor’s office made a slight error by changing the zero to a two, so 401 became 421. No one corrected it, so the homes on Shirley Lane start at 421 rather than 401. Because of this, then that section of the development started at 421. People often ask why it starts at 421. Well, that is the reason.”

Fitz said he met Tom Swinick at the old Igoe’s Bar in Dunmore. “We were in graduate school at the time and would stop by once in a while after classes.

“When my wife Mary Ann and I decided to build a home we contacted Tom Swinick. Tom was such a great guy and very honest and hard working.

“We bought two parcels of land on Shirley Lane in 1987 from him. We decided to build our first home there. It was our first home and the first one Tom built for anyone.

“Well, for our wedding present, the late John Domanish, a local architect, designed our home for us.

“This was Tom’s first house to be built in the development, so he could not wait to get started on it. He was just as excited as we were. He was there everyday for the building of his first home. When it was completed, he was so excited and proud to hand us over the keys.”

And it didn’t stop there. Fitz said Swinick stayed in constant touch, always asking about the initial home and making himself available for any possible issue.

“He was literally there from start to finish, from 1987 until two weeks before he died,” Fitz said.

“Just two weeks before he passed away, I called him. I had a broken lock that I could not fix. Well, Tom came right over. He actually fixed the lock with the exact same apparatus he used in 1987. And that was not all he did. He went on to check every lock in the house. He found other locks that needed repair and promised to come back in a couple weeks to fix them.

“But then he passed away, But he kept his promise, because a few days after he passed I got a call from his son. He told me his dad made a promise to fix the rest of the locks.

“So his son came over to fix the locks to keep his dad’s promise.

“And that’s the kind of guy Tom Swinick was. True to his word and working from the day his first house was built in 1987 until two weeks before he died.

“He was just a tremendous guy right to the end. And we are still enjoying the home he built for us. He was so proud of it.”