Ralph Owen Swarthout, LCC ’66, passed from this life on September 30, 2020 at his home in Lincoln, IL.
Ralph was born on November 11, 1937, in Edmore, Michigan, near his home in Vestaburg, to Merton Sylvester and Violet Fern (Lippert) Swarthout. His family was instrumental in starting both Rock Lake Christian Assembly and Great Lakes Bible College, and Ralph attended both as a young man. He then served in the U.S. Army, including time assisting in the chaplain’s office in Verdun, France. After an honorable discharge, he continued his schooling at Lincoln Christian College (now Lincoln Christian University) in Lincoln, IL, where he met Marva L. Cobb. They were married in Alma, IL on July 25, 1964. After graduating from LCC in 1966, Ralph served churches in various ministerial roles, first in Lexington, KY, where they welcomed daughter Lori; then Crawfordsville, IN; Anderson, IN; Fort Wayne, IN; West Frankfort, IL; Macomb, IL; Vandalia, MO; Clinton, IL; and Woodlawn, IL, plus a few interim ministries during retirement.
Ralph often said, “I love Jesus, and I love people!” Everyone knew him for his infectious laugh and big heart. He knew he wasn’t perfect, also favoring the saying, “I’m just one beggar trying to help the other beggars find bread,” the Bread of Life. He specialized in coffee cup evangelism and pastoral care throughout his life and was also an avid supporter of missions.