Thomas Madison Swift, IV

Published 4:00pm Monday, January 28, 2013

Thomas Madison Swift, IV, of Hendersonville, died Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013, after a long and heroic battle with ALS. He was 54 years old. He is survived by his daughters, Emma, of Chapel Hill, and Catherine, of Hendersonville.

Tom was a graduate of Atlanta Christian College, and received his masters in divinity and doctorate in ministry from Emmanuel School of Religion.

Tom ministered to congregations in East Tennessee and Western North Carolina, and worked as a hospice chaplain with CarePartners and Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. After his illness took away his ability to work, he continued his ministry through his gift of writing. In addition to books on spiritual formation, he wrote a monthly column on living with ALS that was published in the Asheville Citizen-Times.

After his diagnosis with ALS, Tom was cared for by his loving community of friends at St. James Episcopal Church, and by several gifted and compassionate doctors and nurses at Carolinas Neuromuscular Disease Center, Hendersonville Health and Rehabilitation and Four Seasons’ Elizabeth House. His daughters wish to extend their gratitude to the wonderful friends and caregivers who made his final years and days comfortable, joyful and meaningful.

In one of the final articles Tom wrote for the Asheville Citizen-Times, he said of heaven: “The serious business of this place is Joy. I think I could live here forever.”

It is with joy, limited only by sadness at the loss of his presence here on earth, that his family and friends release him to this wonderful, eternal place.

A memorial service will be held Monday, Jan. 28 at 3 p.m. at Saint James Episcopal Church, Hendersonville. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The ALS Association, 4 North Blount Street, Second Floor, Raleigh, N.C. 27601, in memory of Tom Swift.

A register book is available online for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com.

Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Directors and Cremation Memorial Center is in charge of arrangements.

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