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Remembering C.W. “Chuck” Swift


Chuck Swift had a love for the microwave industry. The industry he put his heart into always gave back. A few years after starting his career at Hughes Aircraft he left to join Bert Aaron as a manufacturer’s rep. Chuck was a natural salesman.

Chuck Swift
C.W. “Chuck” Swift

He was soon volunteering for the Institute of Radio Engineers by circulating petitions to form the Los Angeles chapter of the PGMTT, the precursor to the Microwave Theory and Technique Society and the IMS of today. As foot soldier for the group, he attended hundreds of local meetings.  He built friendships throughout the industry.

Chuck also loved his fraternity. He pledged the California Epsilon chapter of Phi Kappa Psi at UCLA in 1949. Over the years he organized countless events with his Phi Psi brothers while making friends from all the generations that have followed. He was still attending events this past February.  At the house on Gayley sitting with a group of 18 to 22 year olds, he was energized by their spirit and they were awed by his optimism.

In 1958, Chuck and wife Dolly took the chance of their lives and started their own business that they shared with their family for the next 60 years.

Chuck loved cars and motorcycles and airplanes. In 1964, Chuck was experiencing some success as a manufacturer’s representative. Chuck rewarded himself by purchasing a Honda Benly motorcycle. He took his wife and kids for rides. 1985 marked the first of many motorcycle trips to the MTT-S. He would ride every year until 2006.

In 1969, Chuck earned a pilot license and purchased “November 201 Whisky Charlie,” a Beechcraft Bonanza.  He used it to visit suppliers, customers and trade shows all over the country. With long time employee Phil McKay and his sons Steve and Andy, he would fly into airports large and small. Whether taxiing behind the Concorde at Dulles International Airport or waiting for the fuel truck in Socorro, New Mexico he was headed out to do business in his unique way.  Chuck would give away pistachios, toys, trinkets and all sorts of things that blinked. He learned to make sculpture balloons to entertain and amaze fellow travelers or a waitress in a diner along his way.

He loved to travel. He took his family all over. If he couldn’t find someone to go with him he would go alone, even in his eighties. He spent two weeks on the farm of a champion sheep shearer in New Zealand.  In Hong Kong, he hiked hills to get the right background for a picture. In Paris, he was befriended by a young rental car agent who took him in when he missed his flight home.

He loved seeing his friends at the IEEE MTT-S Symposium, each year retelling stories and making new stories to tell. From the early sixties he was there. He was having a good time and making sure everyone around him was having a good time too.  Chuck has attended his last IMS.  He will be missed.

— Andy Swift