Earl Everett Swain, 91, died October 30, 2017 at Langdon Place in Exeter, New Hampshire. He was born in Wakefield, Massachusetts on May 13, 1926 to Alfred and Mabel (Fraughton/Frotten) Swain. Alfred Swain cut and delivered ice in the Saugus, Massachusetts area and later worked as a chauffeur for author James Thurber. In addition to being a homemaker and mother, Mabel Swain worked as a cook for James Thurber and was formally trained as a wedding cake baker. Earl had three siblings: Albert "Bud" Swain, Alfred "Jim" Swain and Medora Plimpton. All pre-deceased Earl.
The Swain family moved from Saugus to Danville, New Hampshire in 1936. Earl attended elementary school in the white one-room schoolhouse in Danville and graduated from high school at Sanborn Seminary in Kingston, N.H. The family farm at 127 Beach Plain Road in Danville raised chickens, dairy cows and turkeys.
Earl served in the United States Army Air Force and U.S. Air Force from 1946-1967. During his military career, he was primarily involved in aerial refueling; first in converted bombers and later in KC-97s and KC-135s. He was part of the crew that completed the first nighttime aerial refueling in aviation history. While serving, he was deployed to England, Thule, Greenland, Morocco and other locations. After retiring from Pease Air Force Base in Portsmouth, N.H., he began a 45-year career in real estate, buying properties in New Hampshire, Maine and Massachusetts to fix up and sell - today called "flipping" real estate.
Earl married Gail MacDonald Swain of Kingston, N.H. on November 30, 1957. The couple later had a son, Todd Swain. They first lived on Gill Street in Exeter, before residing on Walnut Avenue in North Hampton, N.H. from 1963-2017. Earl was very active in the Masons, serving as Master of Star in the East Lodge #59 of Exeter for two terms. He served the Grand Lodge of New Hampshire as District Deputy Grand Lecturer and Junior Grand Deacon. He served as District Deputy Grand Master for the First Masonic District. He was president of the Exeter Masonic Association for 27 years. He also provided support to the North Hampton Youth Association, the New Hampshire Farm Museum and other community organizations.
After a long hiatus, Earl started flying again in the 1980s. He owned a variety of single engine airplanes and ultralights, hangering most of them at Hampton Airfield in North Hampton, NH. He flew these small airplanes to California, Canada, Florida, Ohio, Virginia and many other places in the northeastern United States. He flew until 2012, when he was 86 years old.
There will be no calling hours. Burial will be in the Exeter Cemetery, Exeter, N.H.
Brewitt Funeral Home, Exeter, N.H. is handling arrangements.