Swigart, Edmund K. 78, co-founder of Institute for American Indian Studies in Connecticut

Washington, Connecticut 6-09

Edmund K. "Ned" Swigart, 78, of Washington died May 14, 2009, after a brief struggle with cancer. He was born March 31, 1931, in Milwaukee, Wis., son of the late Lucie Emerson and the late Harry Swigart.

He graduated from the Hotchkiss School in Lakeville and received his bachelor of arts degree from Yale University in 1954. He went on to receive his M.S. from the Yale Conservation School and his PhD in conservation and education from Columbia Pacific University.

He was a kind and generous man with a passion for life. He had a deep commitment to his family and friends, to education in the broadest sense, and to the conservation of our natural word.

He was an avid fisherman, model railroader, birder and general outdoor enthusiast.

In his early years, he worked for both the National Audubon Society and the Massachusetts Audubon Society.

Thereafter, he became a much-loved instructor at The Gunnery in Washington, sharing his unique understanding of the natural world with generations of young people.

Towards the end of the 1960's, he started the Shepaug Valley Archeological Society, with the goal of learning more about and preserving the heritage of the northeastern Americans Indians.

In 1975, he co-founded the Institute for American Indian Studies, with the expanded goal of researching, preserving and sharing not only the heritage but also the culture and world view of the northeastern American Indians, both past and present.

Over the past 20 years, he researched and wrote three genealogical books tracing the ancestry of his and his wife's families, earning national and regional awards. In April 2009, he published "A White Man's Journey To A Northeastern American Indian Faith and Its Relevance Today," sharing an alternative natural world view that he felt was the culmination of his life's work.

He is survived by his best friend and wife of 54 years, Debbie; three children, Lucie, Ted and Paul; his "adopted" daughter, Karen Sheehy McCall; 11 grandchildren; a great-granddaughter; and many other close relatives.

A memorial service was held at the First Congregational Church on the Green in Washington followed by a reception at the Institute for American Indian Studies at 38 Curtis Road in Washington.

The Woodbury Funeral Home of Munson-Lovetere, was in charge of arrangements.

Memorials may be made to the IAIS, 38 Curtis Road, P.O. Box 1260, Washington, CT 06793, or to The Gunnery, 99 Green Hill Road, Washington, CT 06793.


 
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