Alexander Swantz passed away Saturday, June 13, 2020, at the age of 101.
Alex was born May 9, 1919, in Buckley, Wash., to Stephen W. and Sandra Maliniak Swantz. He grew up on a dairy and poultry farm near Chehalis, Wash., and graduated from Chehalis High School in 1936. While in high school, he was state president of the Future Farmers of America, state public speaking champion and was selected as outstanding young farmer in the state.
He graduated with honors from Washington State College (now Washington State University) in 1941, where he majored in agricultural business. While in college, he was active in student affairs and was chairman of the Rally Committee, elected to membership in Alpha Zeta and Crimson Circle and, at graduation, was designated as one of the school’s “Big Five.”
Alex Swantz married Elizabeth (Beth) Appleford on April 6, 1941, in Lewiston.
He served in the U.S. Navy on sea duty during World War II. He continued in the Naval Reserve, retiring in 1972 with the rank of captain.
He received a master’s degree in 1949 and a Ph.D. in 1951 from the University of Minnesota, where he majored in agricultural economics. In 1965-66, he was selected by Princeton University to be a Princeton Fellow in Public Affairs, and spent the academic year there doing postgraduate study in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
He spent his career with the U.S. Department of Agriculture as an agricultural economist and administrator, mostly in the Washington, D.C., area. From 1956 to 1961, he served as the administrator of the federal milk marketing order, covering the Inland Empire area, headquartered in Spokane. He was awarded a Certificate of Merit for superior performance.
Alex Swantz was a speaker at industry conventions representing the USDA. After his year at Princeton, he conducted seminars in executive development for the USDA and was a speaker at Agency Management Conferences. He was the author of numerous publications and speeches on dairy marketing and pricing, farmer bargaining power and trading in commodity futures contracts. At the time of his retirement from the USDA, he was the associate administrator of the Commodity Exchange Authority, the federal agency responsible for regulating commodity exchanges and trading in agricultural commodity futures contract.
Memberships included Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity, Alpha Zeta, the American Agricultural Economics Association and the American Economic Association.
He was included in “Who’s Who in America.”
While living in the Washington, D.C., area, Alex Swantz was president of the Alumni Chapter of Alpha Gamma Rho; vice president of the Alumni Chapter of Alpha Zeta; president and a member of the board of governors of Westwood Country Club in Vienna, Va.; and on the board of directors of the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra. He was on the board of directors of the Washington State University (WSU) Alumni Association from 1969-76 and 1977-80 and, from 1981-87, he was a WSU Foundation trustee and chairman of the foundation’s planned giving committee in 1983-84.
Alex Swantz received Washington State University’s Alumni Achievement Award in 1991 “for distinguished professional service, effective advocacy for public education and loyal support of his alma mater.”
Following his retirement, he and Beth lived in Vienna, Va., for several years and then moved to Asotin, where they built their dream home on the Snake River. Alex served on the Asotin County Library board for 10 years and was chairman of the committee to design and build the new county library located in Clarkston. He was president of the Asotin County Historical Society, chairman of the Asotin City Planning and Zoning Commission and served on the Asotin County Centennial committee. For 13 years, he was a member of the board of trustees of Walla Walla Community College, serving four years as chairman. He was a past master of Nitosa Lodge No. 204 of F.& A.M. and was a charter member of Kena Temple of the Shriners. He was a member of the Clarkston Golf and Country Club, the Moose Lodge and the Veterans of Foreign Wars post in Clarkston and served as president of the Friends of the Asotin County Library.
After Asotin, Alex and Beth moved to Vancouver, Wash., and then returned to Clarkston, where Beth, the love of his life, passed away in 2009. After her death, Alex moved to the Washington, D.C., area and was a resident of Vinson Hall, a military retirement home in McLean, Va., until his death.
Alex enjoyed landscaping, gardening, reading, stock market investments, golf and traveling at home and abroad.
He is survived by a son, Richard A. Swantz (Sandy), of Marana, Ariz.; a daughter, Tamara S. Dierman (Jeff), of Potomac, Md.; five grandchildren; two stepgrandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. A grandson preceded him in death.
Memorials may be sent to the Asotin County Historical Museum, 215 Fillmore St., Asotin, WA 99402.
Alex will be interred with his wife, Beth, at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.