Wendell Swartz

Obituary of Wendell C. Swartz


Wendell Carter Swartz (Wendy) passed away peacefully on January 24, 2024 after a long and colorful life of nearly 99 years. Wendy was born on May 26,1925 in Louisville, Kentucky to Wendell and Clara Carter Swartz.

After graduation from high school in Indiana, Wendy was inducted into the US Army Air Force in October, 1943 in the middle of World War II. As luck would have it, he was trained as a tail gunner on a B-24 Bomber in the Central Europe theater, flying over 30 missions. The most harrowing mission, which he volunteered for, was air support to troops in the Battle of the Bulge in late 1944. He was honorably discharged in October 1945, having received 4 Bronze Star citations.

Wendy married Barbara Mae Phelps on October 17, 1946, a marriage that lasted 70 years. He graduated from Purdue University in 1952, where he was a soloist with the Purdue Glee Club. His love of music led to forming his own traveling dance band, singing on daytime TV, and appearing on and winning the Arthur Godfrey Talent Scouts.  Wendy and family returned to Lafayette, Indiana where he opened his first Pizza King restaurant in 1956 with tremendous success, leading to his founding of Pizza King of Indiana.  

Timing was good and the product even better when Wendy sold his business in Indiana in 1966, moving the family to Key Biscayne, Florida. Coming out of semiretirement, Wendy started the pizza business again in the south Florida area in 1966 and later as Sir Pizza in 1969. Sir Pizza became and is today an “institution” on Key Biscayne, still operating after 55 years, now under the ownership of Wendy’s son Barry.

Wendy and Barbara moved from Key Biscayne to Stuart, Florida in 1983 where they resided for 38 years with many great friends and an estimated 14,000 rounds of golf.  In 2021 Wendy sold his home and moved to Hilton Head, SC to be near his daughter Debby.

Wendy loved cigars, which he smoked continuously for over sixty years, burning holes in every golf shirt which he proudly covered up with a small yellow bumblebee patch. Wendy loved golf, boating, Tonk (card game), Liar’s poker, red wine, and reruns of TV western movies. He loved his golf buddies and his entire family. He lived his life his way and we were all enriched by knowing him.

Wendy is survived by his daughter and son-in-law, Deborah and Jack Sovern of Beaufort, South Carolina; his son and daughter-in-law, Barry and Bertha Swartz of Miami, Florida; his dear brother Robert and his spouse Rob of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida; seven grandchildren and many great grandchildren. He is preceded in death by his beautiful wife Barbara and his son Geoffrey.

Wendy will be inurned next to Barbara in the Mariner Sands Memorial Garden, Stuart, Florida.

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