Cover photo for James Leland Swecker's Obituary
James Leland Swecker Profile Photo
1934 James 2023

James Leland Swecker

July 13, 1934 — January 12, 2023



James “Jim” Leland Swecker, 88, of Monterey passed away peacefully on Thursday, January 12, 2023 at home surrounded by his family.

Jim was born July 13, 1934 in Blue Grass, a son of the late Jennings Judy and Maria Tate (Sterrett) Swecker. A graduate of Blue Grass High School, Jim went on to earn a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry from VPI in 1957.

On December 30, 1960, he married Ruby Phyllis Hevener of Monterey. In the next few years, the family moved to Maryland and then Williamson, Prosperity, and finally Beckley, West Virginia where his three children grew up. Jim was employed with the government for over 25 years and ultimately retired as the WV officer in charge of the Consumer Food Program of the USDA. Following his retirement in the early 2000’s, Jim and Ruby enjoyed spending the warmer months in Highland County at “The Cabin” located on Middle Mountain and the cooler months at a retirement community in Harlingen, Texas. In 2012 they made the decision to return to the county he held so dear and took up full time residence in Monterey.

A cattleman at heart, Jim was part owner of Monterey Livestock Sales, where he enjoyed working cattle sales with his brothers, George, and Bob, as well as making connections with the area cattle producers. Additionally, he enjoyed time spent in Highland socializing, debating, and hunting with his Middle Mountain friends, including the “Michigan Bunch.”  He also enjoyed being with his Beckley friends, his card playing competitors, and his Harlingen friends from all over the U.S.  Above all, Jim cherished being with his grandchildren, playing games, fishing and most especially agitating them.

In addition to his parents, Jim was preceded in death by two sisters, Francis Celia Crown and Betty Ann Abbott; and three brothers, William Sterrett Swecker, George Reid Swecker, and Robert Tate Swecker.

In addition to his wife of 62 years, Jim is survived by a daughter, Jeanne Lynn Swecker and husband, Tom Lowum of Lake Norman, NC; sons, James Leland “J.L.” Swecker II and wife, Margie Swecker of Clendenin, WV, and John Reid Swecker and wife, Pamela Swecker of Midlothian; six grandchildren, Sarah Michelle Lowum of Greenville, SC, Matthew Thomas Lowum of Corning, NY, Joshua Michael Swecker of Morgantown, WV, Jacob Matthew Swecker of Morgantown, WV, Elizabeth “Tate” Swecker of Midlothian, John “Jack” Chatfield Swecker of Midlothian.; one sister, Mary Judy Riddick of Franklin; as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

A celebration of life will be held at 12 o’clock noon, Saturday, January 21, 2023 at Monterey Presbyterian Church with pastor Beth Pyles officiating.

Following the service family members will receive friends in the church fellowship hall where a light meal will be served. 

In keeping with his wishes, Jim’s body was gifted for anatomical research.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations to the Highland Girl Scouts, c/o Mary Dowdy, P.O. Box 69, Monterey, VA 24465 or to the Monterey Presbyterian Church, c/o Tate Dunn, P.O. Box 306, Monterey, Va. 24465.

Condolences and memories may be made to the family at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of James Leland Swecker, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, January 21, 2023

12:00 - 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

Monterey Presbyterian Church

Spruce St, Monterey, VA 24465

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