Dr. Robert Thomas Swindell , 76, of Little Rock lost his courageous war with cancer on Friday evening, April 11, 2014. Born in Greenfield, TN to Jewel (Overton) and Chester Swindell on February 22, 1938, Dr. Bob’s quick wit and love for people won him a special place in the hearts of those he encountered.
Bob attended Messick High School in Memphis, TN where he proudly served in ROTC. His love for our great country ran deep. His undergraduate work was completed at Memphis State University, and he earned his doctorate from the University of South Carolina. Post-Doctoral work was done at Iowa State University. He was a member of the American Chemical Society, Royal Society of Chemistry, Emeritus of University of Arkansas, and Alpha Omega Alpha.
He embraced his Chickasaw heritage and co-founded Minority Access to Sciences and Math. He was the founder of American Indian Renaissance Organization. He co-founded the Maumelle Arts Council and served as Chairman of Department of Chemistry at Tennessee Technological University. He was also Chairman of Department of Chemistry at University of Arkansas – Little Rock, where he was awarded the University Department of Excellence Award. Bob was sent as liaison to medical schools in Mexico and also to England for an International Environmental Conference.
Bob was a beloved coach, professor, and husband.
He loved sports. The softball field at Tennessee Technological University even bears his name. Under his direction, two women’s softball national championships were won. He coached college softball, All Junior Pro Basketball, and Little League Football.
As a professor, he was honored numerous times as Professor of the Year and is in the Who’s Who of American Professors.
He is married to Joanne; father to Melinda Swindell Davenport; grandfather to Allyson George and Mariah Pitts (Eric); and great-grandfather to Riley Jo Young. He is also survived by his father-in-law, Reverend Daniel Swim (Marsha); sisters-in-law, Connie Corney and Karolyn LeBlanc; brothers-in-law, Brian Keddy and Danny Swim; nieces; nephews; and a host of cousins and friends. He will be especially missed by his chocolate lab, Dahli.
Bob loved God: he was a man of high principle. His life philosophy: “All of my life I have been blessed. God has always opened doors and has done special things for me - things for which I am not worthy.”
The family would like to offer special thanks to Dr. Donald Bodenner, head and neck oncologist; Dr. Charles Smith, family doctor at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences; and to the Baptist Health physical and occupational therapy teams. Thanks also to our wonderful neighbors and friends who helped Bob through this difficult time in his life.
Funeral service will be at 1:00 P.M., Thursday, April 17, 2014 at Christian Life Center, 12923 West Markham, Little Rock, AR 72211, Phone: (501)224-1663. The family will receive friends from 5:00 – 7:00 P.M., Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at Roller-Chenal Funeral Home Chapel, 13801 Chenal Parkway, Little Rock, AR 72211, Phone: (501)224-8300. Interment will be at Highland Cemetery, Greenfield, TN at 12:00 P.M., Friday, April 18, 2014.
Memorials may be made to Keetowah United First Band of Cherokees, “Reinstituting Cultural Values for Native Americans,” (write check to Summer Youth Camp Fund) Box 746, Tahlequah, OK 74465 or to Tennessee Technological University, Swindell/Jackson Fund for Sciences and Mathematics, 1 William L. Jones Drive, Cookeville, TN 38505, Phone: (931) 372-3101.