John Leland Swindler, aged 69, of Norwalk, CT, died Monday, May 4th at Norwalk Hospital from complications of Covid-19. John had also battled Parkinson’s Disease for 32 years.
John was the son of the late Maj. Leland M. Swindler, USMC, who died in 1993, and Helen Cunningham Swindler, who passed in 2018 at the age of 95 in Norwalk.
Born on December 4, 1950 in Norfolk, VA, John grew up moving to 12 different homes through high school, as military families often did. John was naturally entrepreneurial and began running businesses at a young age. He started his own Coin Shop during his high school years in Minneapolis. He later become a member of the Achiever Association of the Junior Achievement, the non-profit youth organization helping students excel at business.
John joined the U.S. Airforce ROTC while attending the University of Maryland but was honorably discharged in 1972 after suffering two gunshot wounds in a hunting accident on his 21st birthday. After 9 months of convalescence, much of it at Walter Reed Army Hospital, John asked that his left leg be amputated so he could get back to playing sports.
John graduated in 1975 from the University of Maryland’s College of Business in College Park. He worked as an executive in charge of all aspects of home and commercial construction, and in real estate for nearly a decade with Long & Foster Real Estate and Suthard Construction in Gaithersburg, MD. In 1984, he created and became President of Arrow Enterprises, which developed, built, and marketed upscale homes across southern Maryland for many years. In later years, John was a broker and consultant in Hensley Associates, LLC, financing commercial real estate projects.
As his Parkinson’s Disease progressed, John took part in several Parkinson’s clinical trials at the National Institutes of Health in Washington in hopes of advancing treatment protocols and drugs for Parkinson’s and related diseases.
John was always a sportsman and loved camping, fishing, hiking, bow hunting and collecting a wide range of reptiles and amphibians. There were always turtles and lizards in his house, and the occasional snake. He was also a competitive track athlete in high school and college, running sprints, long jump, and triple jump. He even ran one marathon for charity a few years after his leg was amputated.
After entering a nursing home in the last couple of years, John was known for his exceptional trivia prowess, and high spirit. Despite his health challenges, John’s strikingly exuberant attitude set a strong example for others with humor, enthusiasm, and a consistently positive outlook.
John is survived by his four siblings and six nephews and nieces: Nancy Swindler Sprague and her husband Earl of Centennial, CO and their children Stephen Sprague and wife Jeanne of Otis, OR, and Matthew Sprague of Denver, CO; Edward Swindler and his wife Barbara of Norwalk, CT and their children Katherine Swindler of Middleburg, VA and Matthew Swindler of Norwalk, CT; Robert Swindler of Manassas, VA; and Marjorie Swindler Rose and her husband James of Atlanta, MI and their daughters Megan Rose of Dallas, TX and Jamie Lee Rose of St. Clair Shores, MI.
A private service will be held later this year when John’s family can come together again.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.
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