Oklahoma native and reputable inventor George William “Bill” Swisher died Thursday at his Oklahoma City home. He was 81.
Swisher was known for his innovative ideas and contributions to the state. He had more than 50 patents registered in his name at the time of his death.
“He was always curious about how things worked, how to make things better,” said his son, Thane Swisher.
Swisher was born in Oklahoma on Aug. 18, 1930. His wife, Wanda Young Swisher, 79, said he spent most of his life in Oklahoma and continued to take trips across the state until his health started to fail a few years ago.
“This was home,” she said. “He loved Oklahoma City, and he loved the state. It never occurred to him to leave.”
Falling in love
The two met in January 1953 when Wanda Swisher was caring for his grandmother as a nursing student.
“He was the best looking thing I've ever laid my eyes on,” she said she later told her friends.
It wasn't until September that she received the call she had been hoping for. “I received a call and he said, ‘You don't know who this is.' I said, ‘Oh, yes I do.'”
The two made a date the next night and eventually were married in July 1954.
In 1969, Bill Swisher invented the “Autograde,” a technology that changed the world's method of paving roads. He then went on to own and found CMI Corp., a company that became a worldwide leader in the manufacturing of road paving equipment.
Thane Swisher, 55, said his father became interested in technology and machinery at a young age. He said he was operating heavy equipment by the age of 11 and aimed to provide products that would help people.
“There wasn't any type of equipment he couldn't run,” he said.
In addition to Swisher's success, he was also known as a family man.
Son, Scott Swisher, 47, said he remembers taking numerous trips with his seven siblings. One of the most memorable trips was when they spent two weeks in Hawaii for Christmas, he said.
“He was a great role model,” Scott Swisher said. “He taught the boys in the family hard work.”
Daughter Ann Swisher, 52, said she remembers her father being very sweet and loving to his children.
“He had a wonderful life,” she said. “He just wanted everyone to celebrate the life he had. It was very extraordinary.”
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Tuesday at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 4400 North Shartel Avenue.