William “Billie Clyde” Swilley passed into eternal peace on Monday, July 20, 2020, at his home. He was 95 years old. Born March 4, 1925, in Hattiesburg, Miss., he was the son of Luther and Sarah Smith Swilley, early Bogalusa residents.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Catherine George Swilley; his parents; a son, Clyde Michael Swilley; and his siblings, Heldria Franklin Swilley, Helen Swilley Dunaway, Mildria Swilley George, and Virginia Swilley Dunaway Day.
Survivors include his daughter, Sharon Swilley (George) Bateman, and son, Jeffrey Scott (Paula) Swilley; six granddaughters, Lindsey Swilley Bailey, Lauren Swilley Sevier, Leah Swilley Miley, Anne Bateman Moore, Sarah Bateman Peters, and Katy Bateman Stark; and eight great-grandchildren.
As a young man, he enlisted in the U. S. Army during World War II. He attended flight school in Alva, Okla., and later flew missions over the Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, tracking enemy submarines using ShoRam (short range radar), a new technology which he taught in Boca Raton, Fla. Following WWII, he was recruited by Maurice Bayon and Robert Suggs, who were starting a new company called Offshore Navigation, Inc. He worked in early oil exploration offshore in Louisiana and California. He joined Gaylord Container Corporation in 1951 and worked in several different capacities until his retirement in 1987. He loved his work and always loved a challenge. On Nov. 16, 1947, he married his high school sweetheart, Catherine Clement George, and together they shared a loving, wonderful life for 69 years, rearing three children, Sharon Swilley Bateman, Clyde Michael Swilley and Jeffrey Scott Swilley.
Clyde had many interests, including horticulture (especially cultivating orange and satsuma trees), stained glass making, genealogy, and all sports, especially LSU sports. In addition, he enjoyed hunting and fishing and anything having to do with his children or grandchildren. He was a lifelong member of Superior Avenue Baptist Church, a member of the Masonic Order of Center Lodge #244, and The American Legion Post #24.
Poole-Ritchie Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Following COVID-19 guidelines, a private family service will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, July 23. Friends and family are invited to a graveside service at Ponemah Cemetery at 11 a.m.
Pallbearers will include Jacob Bailey, Adam Miley, Jonathan Sevier, Kevin Moore, Mike Peters and Bill Stark. Honorary pallbearers will be his great grandsons, Alex Moore, Hutson Moore and Sam Peters and a special friend Taylor Williams.
The family wishes to thank and gratefully acknowledge caregivers Amy Brooks, Terrie Riley, Rachael Ballard, and Louise Stewart, Special friends, Shelby and Mary Lee McKenzie, Walter O’Berry, Jim Stokes, Gary George, Dr. Steve Ogden, Brandy Vince and Southeast Home Health for all of their kind and compassionate care.