Naomi E. Swartz

Died April 4, 2017


Naomi Ellen Swartz, 97, was born Nov. 5, 1919, to Jesse and Agnes (Gunden) Byler in Pigeon and entered into eternal rest with her Savior on April 4, 2017.

She married Joseph Swartz on June 22, 1941, and they were happily married for 70 years. As a newly married couple, they purchased a farm in Arenac County on Whitman Road and settled in for a life of farming. That changed in 1949, when the young couple accepted a call to go to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to start a church in the little town of Rexton. They pastored the Rexton Mennonite Church for 18 years. She was the consummate pastor’s wife, always entertaining many friends and visitors. Their home was known as “Grand Central Station” with the constant flow of visitors.

In 1967, they received a call to the Maple Grove Mennonite Church in Topeka, Ind. They were loath to leave their beloved Upper Peninsula, but after they both received the same verse in the Bible, they felt compelled to answer God’s call. So with much trepidation, they moved to Topeka. There, the Lord blessed them with a lot of growth in the church, averaging over 700.

After 17 years in Topeka, in 1984, they accepted a call to move to Butlerville, Ind., to pastor a church there in a semi-retired capacity. After five years there, they retired and moved to Sault Ste. Marie. However, after eight years of retirement and at ages 80 and 78, they accepted a call to return to Butlerville and pastored for another three years!

So after 43 years of pastoring, they retired for good, living first in Fairview, at the AuSable Valley Community Apartments, then moving back to Arenac County to live with their son, Ron, in Turner, where Naomi’s husband, Joseph, died in 2011.

Finally, for the last year and a half, she resided at Courtyard Manor, Swartz Creek, where she was greatly loved and appreciated, never having lost her knack for hospitality and always thinking of others and their needs. Also, never having lost her knack for witnessing for her Savior, with one of the staff saying she really loved her Lord.

She leaves five children, J. Dennis (Ann Alee) Swartz of Flushing, Lowell (Rose) Swartz of Flint, Gloria (Clint) Kinsell of Colorado Springs, Colo., Keith (Judy) Swartz of Phoenix, Ariz., and Ron (Lucretia) Swartz of Turner; 21 grandchildren; 39 great-grandchildren; three great-great grandchildren; and five sisters, Anna Mae Swartz, Grace Swartz, Daisy Yoder, Alice Sauder and Arlene Gingerich.

A private family burial will take place at the Sims-Whitney Township Cemetery at 3 p.m. Friday, April 7, 2017. A memorial service will take place 2 p.m. Saturday, April 8, 2017, at Riverside Mennonite Church, 3620 E. Twining Rd., Turner, MI 48765 with Pastor James Schlagel officiating. Online condolences may be offered at


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