Lawson Lewis Swearingen, Sr.
Lawson Lewis Swearingen, Sr. passed away Thursday, December 22, 2011, at the age of 92 at Christus Grace Home after a brief illness. Visitation will be held at Broadmoor Baptist Church at 4110 Youree Dr, Shreveport, LA 71105, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday December 27, 2011. The funeral service will be held at Broadmoor at 11:00 a.m., following visitation. Officiating will be Dr. Chuck Pourciau, Dr. Scott Tatum, and Dr. Larry Williams. Interment will follow in Centuries Memorial Park on Mansfield Road.
He was born to Annie Marie Estlinbaum Swearingen and Henry Douglas Swearingen in Ramsey, Texas on December 22, 1919, and grew up in Eagle Lake, Texas.
After graduating from Eagle Lake High School, Lawson attended Baylor University, where, during his junior year, he met Jeanette (Jean) Christine Cadwallader, his devoted and loving wife of 72 years. Mr. Swearingen was a long-time resident of both Ruston, LA and Shreveport, LA, where he resided at the time of his death.
Mr. Swearingen is survived by his wife, Jean Cadwallader Swearingen of Shreveport; his three children, daughter, Carolyn Swearingen Cody, and husband, Rodger of Houston, TX; daughter Sharon Swearingen Tusa of Richmond, TX; and son, Lawson Lewis Swearingen , Jr. and wife, Sharon of Fairhope, AL; six grandchildren, Dawn Hopkins; Julie Wilson; Anna Reppert and husband, Todd; Lawson Lewis (Chip) Swearingen, III; Carrie Knowles and husband, Jeff; and Ashley Swearingen Day and husband, Will; ten great grandchildren, Sophie, William, and Mara Day; Meredith Hopkins; Andrew, Kendall, and Courtney Reppert; and Lawson, Emma and Bryson Knowles; a sister-in-law, Dorothy Cadwallader; and nieces and nephews.
Mr. Swearingen served in the United States Army through World War II and later in the Korean conflict. After World War II, he joined his wife and three children in Ruston, Louisiana, where they resided for the next 27 years. In 1947 Lawson graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a B.A. degree in Business Administration and began his 35 years in the insurance business as an agent with William A. Marbury and Co. In 1963, when Commercial Union purchased Marbury and Co, Lawson became regional manager for Commercial Union Gulf-South Region, which encompassed the states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Arkansas, and west Tennessee. Because his regional operation was so profitable and well organized, in 1973 Lawson was promoted to Senior Vice President of CU Insurance Companies at the home office for all U.S. operations, in Boston, Massachusetts. Lawson and Jean headed north and made Concord, Massachusetts their new home. In 1975 he became Executive Vice President of CU; later he was elected President and Chief Executive Officer. Then, in 1980, Lawson became Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive of Commercial Union Assurance Companies, when it was the largest group of insurance companies doing business worldwide. Under his leadership CU designed and implemented a number of revolutionary programs in the insurance industry.
After he retired from CU, Mr. Swearingen joined the Louisiana State University, Shreveport faculty as Distinguished Business Executive in Residence and then served as Interim Dean of the College of Business Administration.
Mr. Swearingen’s faith was a central pillar of his life. While in Ruston, he was an active member of Temple Baptist Church, where he served as chairman of the deacons, training director, Sunday school superintendent and Bible teacher. While in Massachusetts, Mr. Swearingen served the Lord at Grace Chapel as chairman of the building fund committee, as member of the Church Council, and by leading the revitalization of Grace Chapel’s Sunday school program. In 1980, he agreed to chair the New England Billy Graham Crusade. His mission was to prepare the way for the Gospel of Jesus Christ in New England and to give all twelve million New Englanders a chance to hear Billy Graham proclaim the Gospel near their own homes. The Crusade reached seven major cities plus university campuses in the northeast and climaxed in Boston with eight days of meetings.
When he and Jean returned to Louisiana, settling in Shreveport, Mr. Swearingen became a member of Broadmoor Baptist Church. He served the Lord at Broadmoor in a number of ways: on the Board of Directors, the Missions Committee, Sunday school teacher and class director, and singing in the Senior Choir.He was a founding member of Broadmoor,s satellite church at Ellerbe Road. In addition to his service at Broadmoor, Mr. Swearingen was a director on the Southern Baptist Convention Foreign Missions Board, and he served as a Trustee of the Louisiana Baptist Foundation and as a Trustee of the Louisiana Baptist Message.
In 1973 Mr. Swearingen was voted Louisiana Tech University’s Outstanding Alumnus of the Year. In 1981 he was named to Louisiana Tech University’s Hall of Distinguished Alumni and received the Tower Medallion for his outstanding career achievements and service.
Mr. Swearingen supported several charitable organizations in Shreveport and was instrumental in the formation and growth of the Louisiana Insurance Consortium, which provides academic courses on insurance and financial education throughout the Louisiana State University and University of Louisiana Systems to professional insurance and financial practitioners, private corporations, and individuals seeking financial independence through education.
Honoring Lawson as pallbearers will be Ralph Cadwallader, David Cadwallader, Will Day, Bo Harris, Dr. Jeff Heitkamp, Jeff Knowles, Todd Reppert, and Lawson Lewis (Chip) Swearingen, III. Honorary pallbearers will be Dr. Skip Buford, David Kohl, and Tom Thompson.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations may be made to impact lives for Christ through the following organizations: Lottie Moon Christmas Offering, c/o Broadmoor Baptist Church, 4110 Youree Dr, Shreveport, LA 71105, or Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, NC 28201-0001. www.billygraham.org