Joe Swarbrick

The Eulogy
read by
Tony McNeile

Joe was Bolton born and bred.   He was a family man.  One day in 1956 when he was a teddy boy he went to the Nevada rink in town, had a go at skating but wasn’t much good.    

He did manage to crash into one girl and sent her sprawling into her friend, who happened to be Alice.    

He liked the look of Alice and hung around afterwards and asked to walk her home.

They married in 1959 after he had done three years in the army with the Lancashire Fusiliers - on active service in Cyprus.

Afterwards something of the army stayed with him - he always looked like a soldier, even years later.   He had the bearing and that presence and he was always smartly dressed.   Did his own ironing because things had to be just so.

Joe started his working life as a painter and decorator, though he later changed to engineering, starting work at John Hunts on the shop floor and then working his way upwards until he retired a the age of 62 as engineering manager.    

The immaculate decoration of his own house is testament to that decorating skill.

As a boy he had been a good footballer and played for Bolton Schoolboys and won medals with them. Maybe could have done more if his family could have afforded it.   


He settled eventually for darts and played it for years in pub and club teams.   

He still enjoyed football though but could be quite vociferous in his criticism of Bolton Wanderers

 - just as he could be quite vociferous of Bolton Council.   They both managed to outrage him at times and Joe used to say he could make a better job himself of running both.

He was quite a strict father to his two daughters because he wanted them to do well and get on in life.   But he was always very proud of them and later happy to spend time chatting on the phone with them.
With his grandchildren he was always a softie and they delighted him.    

With them he let his sense of adventure  and sense of fun go loose.

He took them walking with him, one time walking off into a snow storm perfectly confident in his navigation until he got lost.

He took them on holiday.

Granddaughter Faye went on holiday with them from an early age.  

 He always wanted a twirl from the girls and to tell them how beautiful they were.

He was so pleased to have visited Liza in Dubai recently. 

He was looking forwards to Fay’s wedding.

Really he was a man of routine.   He loved his dogs a whole succession of them and would always take them for a long walk in the morning.   When working he would go out in the early morning with them before going to the works.

He had his routine in the home, especially cleaning the windows.   He couldn’t compete with Ali on cooking so didn’t.   He was happy to boast how good she was.   It was the best cup of tea as well.   He said that every week.

He liked his holidays to the sun, a turkey baster, the family called him.    If the sun was out he was in it.

He loved his outings and celebrations with the family, filming every event with his camcorder.  

   But on the trip of a lifetime to the United States to see in the millennium, it didn’t work.    And he had dared to go down the great water slide, The Tower of Terror.

He loved his daily bet as well.    Joe studied form and had a good knowledge of racing.   He invested a couple of quid almost every day - but he always a modest gambler,  he resisted risking everything on a cert which might not have been a cert. after all.

When Ali was ill with her kidney and eventually had a transplant.   Joe helped out with everything in the house - with the families help.

It was interesting hearing them talk about him.    He could be a bit stubborn and when it came to a disagreement about anything he was always right.  He was a real character.    He had funny ways that made them laugh.

  The reality though was that behind that exterior he was the most caring loving husband, father and grandfather.   His family to him were everything.

And as he became ill, I am sure he realised too that he meant everything to them too.    His death is a real loss to them but his life has given them a treasure chest of memories and a treasure chest of love which will be cherished always.

Yes he will be missed but missed with continuing love.

Job done !   It was really good that two standards came to the funeral today.  I had put Joe's name on the notice board but thought it too short notice to ask for standards.  So many many thanks for the swift response.  This is the second time I have done a funeral interview and discovered the deceased was an LF.   I thought if I put him up on the notice board the name might ring a bell with someone.
Just after Christmas I conducted the funeral of an RA vet who had been a WW2 escapee and contacted the RBL for standards but it was fruitless.   So I put it on Facebook and someone shared with the RA jungle drums and then we had four standards !
I think the Fusiliers are ahead of the game.  Many thanks.

Tony McNeile