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Robert Lee Swank

September 30, 2023

Robert Lee SwankRobert Lee Swank 87, of Watertown passed away Saturday, September 30, 2023, at Samaritan Medical Center surrounded by his family. 

Bob was born July 31, 1936, in Topeka, Kansas to Clarence and Pauline (Guinn) Swank. He married his wife of 39 years, Jill L. Thurheimer of Watertown on April 27, 1984, whom he loved dearly with their two children. He was predeceased by his former wife Jo Ann Wagner with
whom he had five beautiful children.

Bob had a very strong work ethic and began his working career at the young age of twelve, in his first taste of entrepreneurship with his soda pop stands along with raising rabbits and homing pigeons for sale. While in high school, he worked for an Automotive dealership until he began as a stockman at Hallmark cards where he worked his way to plant supervisor. Bob served 9 years in the Kansas National Guard. After moving to Joliet, Illinois, he worked as a manager at Rustcraft Greeting Cards from 1966-1972 until his move as Vice President of EMK Candle Co. in the late 1970’s. 

After moving to Watertown, he began his long lasting career that he enjoyed and held a true passion for in 1979 at Car-Freshner Corporation as vice president of manufacturing. Bob was instrumental in the growth of Car-Freshner in the fragrance industry known world-wide today. He was respected, admired and adored by the employees, co-workers and business associates. He had an unsurpassed compassion for people and implemented and enjoyed many family oriented functions. Bob retired from Car-Freshner on December 31, 2004. However, decades after his retirement Bob is still fondly and lovingly remembered as a Car-Freshener legend. 

When not working, he enjoyed family, vintage cars, and football as a loyal Kansas City Chiefs fan. He served as a board member of the Jeff-Lewis Resolution Center as well. Bob touched many lives in his 87 years making people feel valued and important. He embraced, encouraged and enriched their lives with compassion and friendship that will never be forgotten.

Bob was a devoted husband, father and grandfather. Surviving him along with his wife, Jill L. Swank, Watertown are his seven children. Steven R. Swank of Kansas City, Daniel L Swank and Virginia Westmiller of Satellite Beach, FL, Mark E. Swank and Kelly Fisher of Watertown, Susan A. and Howard Hooper of Harrisville, Randall D. Swank and Laurie of Watertown, Brian R. Swank of Watertown and Samantha J. Swank of Watertown. Then 13 grandchildren and 12 Great Grandchildren. Multiple nieces, nephews and cousins. Bob was predeceased by his parents, his two infant daughters, Jennifer Louise and Jenna Marie Swank, brother Edward Swank and two sisters Delores Beasterfield and Edith Schlief.

Bob left this world a better place than he found it. His integrity and compassion carries on.

Calling hours will be held on Thursday, October 5 th from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M at Cummings Funeral Service, Inc. Watertown. A graveside service will be on Friday, October 6 th at noon at Brookside Cemetery with a reception to follow at the American legion Post 61 beginning at 1 PM. Online condolences to Bob’s family may be posted at www.cummingsfuneral.com. In lieu of flowers, donations in his name may be made to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital or Shriners Hospital for Children.


#3 Blanche Livingston 2023-10-05 11:55
Wayne and I are very sorry for your loss.Bob was a great friend and boss.He always cared about his employees. He will be missed.
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#2 Tom Dawley 2023-10-03 21:34
I worked as a contractor for Car Freshner for many years, and no one could have possibly been more fair or honest than Bob. A really great guy that will sadly be missed. Bob helped me with my business and always gave me a break. Rest in peace Bob.
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#1 Patty Chase 2023-10-03 07:27
Bob was my boss for many years at Car-Freshner.. He was the kindness and caring boss. He even picked me to go to Minnesota on a business trip...I will never forget it...He was very much respected.. I'm sorry for your loss.
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