Saturday, July 31, 2010

RIP Mr. Swackhamer

My 8th grade science teacher died Wednesday. He was in a car accident 2 weeks ago and in the time since my middle school friends and I have stayed updated on his recovery almost daily through facebook. He was hit by a car in the parking lot of the Madison Giant Eagle grocery store (where pretty much everyone in town shops), was taken to the local hospital, then airlifted to the trauma center, with two broken legs, a broken arm and a serious head injury. Though he was 67, he was in good shape physically (from long hours spent at the Y) and his prognosis seemed good until he had a massive stroke this past Monday. From there it was straight down hill.

Mr. Swackhamer was the kind of teacher who stood out, I think primarily because we had a lot of independence in his class. We worked with partners on lab experiments at our own pace - it some of the only hands-on science we got in school and I loved it. My lab partner, Denise, and I zipped through lots of that workbook that year. He let us make mistakes (seriously, a classmate spilled her Bunsen burner and then lit it... it was quite a big flame on her lab table) and learn from them (I don't think any of us will ever forget that the liquid in the Bunsen burner is flammable.). We all knew he valued education because at Halloween he gave out pencils instead of candy!

He'll be greatly missed. RIP Mr. S.

Madison pedestrian dies from injuries

MADISON TOWNSHIP — The former Madison Middle School teacher who was struck by a car in the Giant Eagle parking lot on July 17 has died, the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office confirmed Thursday.

Richard Swackhamer, 67, of Madison village, died Wednesday at the MetroHealth Medical Center in Cleveland after he suffered serious injuries in a parking-lot crash. The crash occurred when an 80-year-old woman mistook her car’s gas pedal for the brake pedal, sending her Buick LeSabre into Swackhamer, and another car, before the vehicle crashed through the large plate-glass window of the Giant Eagle store and into the entry vestibule, Madison Township police reports show.

Swackhamer, who retired from Madison Middle School, had undergone surgery at the MetroHealth Medical Center, Madison Township Police Lt. Tim Brown said.

Husband to Cheryl Swackhamer and father to Amy and Tyson, Swackhamer was a teacher for 38 years. He was a graduate of Ohio University and West Virginia University, and he coached Madison Middle School basketball and was the president of the Madison Education Association.

Affectionately known as “Swack,” Swackhamer enjoyed camping, reading and traveling and also officiated at local football and basketball games. He was active with Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.

He was also a local Santa Claus, donning the costume for children’s events.

Swackhamer was a member of the Central Congregational Church and sang with the Johnnycake Ridge Singers and Cleveland East barbershop choruses.

Calling hours are 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday at the Behm Family Funeral Homes and Crematory on River Street in Madison.

Funeral is 2 p.m. Sunday at the Central Congregational Church, on Park Street, in Madison.

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