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  • Writer's picturePeel Funeral Home


Kelly Franklin Swindle, Jr. departed this life on February 3, 2020. Kelly was born on January 17, 1943, in his grandparent’s bedroom in Bonifay, Florida, a place he always called home. He was the first child and only son of Kelly Franklin Swindle and Margaret Evelyn Bush Swindle.

Kelly grew to adulthood delighting in walking home through foggy cemeteries in New Orleans during grade school, gathering arrowheads in the dry river beds near Waco, Texas, while in junior high, and graduating from high school in Stillwater, Oklahoma in 1960 after earning his Eagle Scout award and two scholarships to the University of Oklahoma. Kelly graduated from the university in January of 1964, first in class both physics and NROTC. He was commissioned an Ensign in the US NAVY on January 19, 1964 and reported to duty in Admiral Hyman Rickover’s nuclear navy program at Main Navy Headquarters in Washington, D.C. While in service there he designed and tested fluid systems for nuclear submarines, conducted sea trials and crew quizzes, and on occasion, participated in navel special operations activities. Upon completing six years of active duty, Kelly entered civilian life as an employee of Williams Brothers Company in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

In November of 1972, Kelly became President of Avitrol Corporation, a small, privately held pesticide manufacturer of treated grain baits used for the control of pest birds. Over time Kelly became sole owner of Avitrol and successfully operated the business until his retirement and sale of the business in June of 2011.

Kelly enjoyed hunting and all things associated with the sport: the out of doors, the exercise, the paraphernalia, the camaraderie, the lore. He especially enjoyed the times spent at the ranch in northwestern Oklahoma, where family and friends gathered in the fall.

Kelly also enjoyed golf and all things affiliated with it, especially the people: not only his regular playing partners but also those he met on the course, for whatever reason.

Sailing, photography, birdwatching and travel were among his other interest.

Kelly held memberships in Tulsa Country Club, The Golf Club of Oklahoma, and Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Oklahoma. He served on the budget committee of the Tulsa Area United Way, in a number of positions at St. John’s Episcopal Church, as a member of the Episcopal Diocesan Council of Oklahoma, and as Trustee of Cuchara Chapel in Colorado.

Married to Betty Jean Schollenbarger Swindle for 56 years, Kelly was devoted husband and caring father to his son, Ralph Bronston, and daughter, Margaret Elizabeth. He held in special affection his grandsons, Ein (Elizabeth), Richard and Alec with a place of honor reserved for great-granddaughter, Dahlia Isabella.

In addition to his immediate family, Kelly is survived by his sister, Stefanie Swindle (Daniel) Gall, his nieces and nephews, Susan (Shawn) Harrison, Chad (Margot) Gall and Lauren (Ryan) Posey, and a host of great nieces, great nephews, cousins and friends.

Celebration of Life Services will be held 3:00 PM Monday, February 10, 2020, at St. Thomas By the Sea Episcopal Church in Laguna Beach, Florida. Interment will be held at 10:00 AM Monday, February 10, 2020, in the Bonifay Cemetery in Bonifay, Florida.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be given to the Cuchara Chapel Scholarship Fund, PO Box 796, LaVeta, CO 81055, Navy League, PO Box 16091, Panama City, FL 32406 or a charity of your choice.

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