Cover photo for Roger Milton Swagler's Obituary
Roger Milton Swagler Profile Photo
1941 Roger 2023

Roger Milton Swagler

April 12, 1941 — August 8, 2023


Roger M. Swagler passed away on August 8, 2023. Born April 12, 1941, to Cleal and Arlene Swagler, Roger and his sister Sandra, grew up in Wadsworth and Kent, OH. He graduated from Kent State University School before attending the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, VA.  After college Roger studied at The Ohio State University, completing his MA and PhD in International Economics and Economic Development and becoming a Buckeye fan for life.  (He never admitted who he was pulling for in the 2022 Peach Bowl, but he knew he couldn’t lose.)

His first teaching position at Drake University in Des Moines, IA, was the start of a long and lively career in academia.  Roger also taught at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and the University of Georgia in Athens, from which he retired in 2005.

As part of the Fulbright US Scholar program, Roger moved his young family to Africa in 1973 to teach at the University of Liberia.  This experience ignited a lifelong love of Africa and of traveling in general. Later academic excursions took him to Burkina Faso, India, and Lesotho, where he was featured in a BBC report after his car window was shot out in an escalating protest on his way to work. Travel with Roger was usually less eventful, though never without local color, whether taking a minivan taxi in Mexico or riding a scooter in the Bahamas.

Roger always believed in volunteering and giving back to the community.  He worked at The Ark in Athens for many years and recently enthusiastically supported the efforts of the Athens Area Community Council. Roger served on the Vestry at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, where he and his wife, Julia, are members.  Living just down the road, Roger liked to refer to the church as “St. Gregory the Close”.

Retirement included a move downtown into a vibrant new neighborhood, watching his grandchildren grow into interesting people, reconnecting with old friends, and traveling with family and high school buddies. He enjoyed collecting wine and supporting the UGA Performing Arts and the Athens Artist in Residence Program.

He is survived by his wife of 38 years, Julia Marlowe Swagler; sister, Sandra Schmidt of Lake Worth, FL; children Anne Renée (Donovan) Dagner of Crozet, VA, Tracy (Charlie) Strunk of Vienna, VA, Andrew (Molly) Swagler of Pittsburgh, PA, William (Javier) Cavada of San Jose, CA, and Michael (Sue) Cavada of Daegu, South Korea; nephew David (Tricia) Schmidt; and grandchildren, Cecelia and Cal Dagner, Christopher and Sarah Strunk, and Sydney and Calvin Swagler.

Anyone wishing to remember Roger is invited to a final service Saturday, August 19th at 11 am at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church in Athens, GA, with reception to follow.

Lord and Stephens, East is in charge of arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Roger Milton Swagler, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Saturday, August 19, 2023

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church, Athens

3195 South Barnett Shoals Road, Athens, GA 30605

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