Antique Vintage 04

Joseph Orin Swartz

December 13, 1921 ~ January 29, 2019 (age 97)




1921 – 2019
Joseph Orin Swartz passed away peacefully in his sleep January 29, 2019. Joe could often be heard to exclaim " This is really livin'!" Sometimes it was an extraordinary event with friends and family, sometimes it was a simple Sunday dinner. This so beautifully illustrates how family and friends were his greatest joy. He said he was a lucky man, lucky to be born to remarkable parents, to be raised with seven terrific siblings, to be uncle to adorable nieces and nephews, to marry an incredible woman and be so blessed with four children, four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He felt fortunate that numerous would-be disasters miraculously had good outcomes and that he enjoyed exceptional good health until his 97 year old body could no longer recover.

Born in Brazil, Indiana, he held onto those small town values throughout his life. Being raised in a family of 10 during the Depression presented many valuable lessons that can be summed up by the phrase" When life gives you lemons, make lemonade." These life experiences prepared him in ways that benefited him his entire life. As a child his assigned chores plus delivering papers, setting bowling pins and more, taught him much, allowing him to help out the family and set in place the exemplary work ethics his parents had taught him. Upon High School graduation he bought the Tom Thumb Diner, becoming a self-taught restaurateur. He then expanded his endeavors to a 24-hour restaurant partnering with one of his brothers. Named the Nighthawk, the restaurant was on a busy truck route in Worthington, Indiana. Then in 1942, World War II required his services. Always a brilliant tinkerer with an inventive mind, those skills would place him in airplane mechanics while serving in the European Theater of World War II. The United States Air Force became his career choice. Joe's 28 years of service centered around keeping the planes flying and in the Strategic Air Command (S.A.C.), a U.S. military command that served the bombardment arm of the U.S. Air Force and was a major part of the nuclear deterrent against the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Shortly after World War II, Joe married the love of his life, Louise Danhauer of Brazil Indiana. Theirs was a marriage of great love, devotion and respect. Joe and Louise celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary three months prior to Louise's passing. Joe, Louise and their four children - David, Richard, Debra and Gary, experienced much adventure as the Air Force moved the family to multiple posts. The first was near Washington DC, followed by Okinawa, back to Washington DC, then near Dover New Hampshire, then near Columbus Ohio, near Fairbanks Alaska and back to Columbus Ohio. Additionally, Joe traveled the globe on short military assignments. Throughout his military service, the men he supervised looked upon him as a mentor and advisor, appreciating his kindness, wisdom and good common sense. He retired in 1970 at the rank of Chief Warrant Officer 4. Retirement gave him more time to: tinker at his workbench (building and fixing things for anyone who asked), for more road trips with the family, to help his wife with her charity work and the family dinners every Sunday, to expand his garden, to play with his grandchildren and to winter in Florida. Retirement also gave him more opportunity to visit his favorite place in the world, Las Vegas with lots of his friends and family. His mathematical mind gave him an edge that allowed him to play responsibly and rewarded him as his favorite hobby paid off. He felt fortunate to be gifted with a mind that works so well for 97 years, a big win all of its own. Calculating the odds of his game kept his mind agile and earned him legendary ICON status at Columbus's own Hollywood Casino where his family and friends would gather to celebrate with him.

The majority of his free time centered around family. He invested great thought into creating wonderful memories for his children and thoroughly enjoyed the annual family reunions that often brought fifty or more loved ones together.
All who knew Joe will always treasure the lessons he taught just by being his authentic self. Joe was loving, joyful, peaceful, kind, good-hearted, faithful to all, generous, modest, humble, honest, always a gentleman and had a delightful sense of humor with an infectious laugh. Along the way, he spoke about life as if he could not believe how lucky he was to be alive, but we were the real lucky ones to get to live alongside him.

Joe will be receiving a military honors ceremony at Dayton National Cemetery, Dayton Ohio, and be interned alongside his beloved wife Louise.

Those wishing to share memories or condolences may email family at or on the funeral home’s website at shaw - Those wishing to make a charitable donation in his name likely know that he gave to every charity that asked, but the one that gave him the most joy was Honor Flight Columbus. Joe was given a meaningful and treasured trip to see the World War II Memorial in Washington DC with a touching welcome home when he and his fellow veterans return to Columbus. Contributions can be made online at: or by mail: Honor Flight Columbus, PO Box 12036, Columbus, Ohio 43212.

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