Philip E. Swift was born in Holden, Missouri, on August 1, 1917. He passed away at his home in La Quinta, California, on November 27, 2019 at the age of 102. He was reared on a farm near Olathe, Kansas, and attended Moonlight grade school, a country school located near the farm home. He graduated from Olathe High School and College of Emporia, Kansas. After college graduation, he was employed as a teacher in the high school at Ozawkie, Kansas, for two years (1938-39).
Pursuing his strong interest in newspapers, he bought the weekly newspaper in Clarence, Missouri, in 1940. Employees of that newspaper continued its publication while he served 47 months (March 1942-January 1946) in the United States Navy as a naval aviator. His training as a Navy pilot was completed at Corpus Christi (Texas) Naval Air Station where he was commissioned an Ensign and received his Navy wings November 1942.
He resumed active publication of The Clarence Courier following military service and, in 1948, acquired three additional weekly newspapers in St. Clair County, Missouri, moving to Osceola, Missouri, in 1949 to assume their active management. In 1955, he sold the four weekly newspapers in Missouri and joined Scripps League of Newspapers which published daily newspapers in several Western states, serving that company in various executive positions from offices in Logan, Utah, and Napa, California.
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In 1975, he left the Scripps company to form Swift Newspapers, Inc. (currently Swift Communications, Inc.) which, during the ensuing years, acquired daily and weekly newspapers located in the West. The company’s corporate offices have been maintained in Carson City, Nevada. His two daughters, Marilyn Shelton of Carlsbad, California, and Janet Buschert of Eagle, Idaho, are the current owners of the company.
He was married in 1948 to Leta Margaret Dobyns Trussell of Shelbina, Missouri, who predeceased him in 1997. In 2001, he married Elizabeth (Ruth) Blakey of Morley, Yorkshire, England. Since that time, they have lived in homes in La Quinta and Morley.
He is survived by his wife, Elizabeth; two daughters, Marilyn Shelton (John) and Janet Buschert (Russell); a stepson, David Trussell (Micke) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, grandsons, Jack Shelton (Cecilia) of Carlsbad, California, and Tim Trussell (Cindy) of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and five great grandchildren.
Respecting Philip’s desire for privacy, there will be no memorial service. He requested those desiring to make memorial contributions make them to the Bessie Minor Swift Foundation (named in honor of his mother who was a one-room school teacher) celebrating literacy and education. Those contributions may be directed to the Foundation at 235 W Floating Feather Road, Eagle, ID 83616.