Eldon Eric Irvine “Smutley” Swan – October 29, 1961 to February 21, 2018
Eldon Eric “Smutley” Swan was born to Barbara Faith Anderson Swan and the late Hubert E Swan on October 29th, 1961.
Eldon attended Southampton Glebe School and Sandys Secondary School before heading off to the workforce.
Eldon had a great relationship with his mother and in recent years lived at the homestead in Southampton.
He coped with a life filled with fighting illness, Sickle Cell Anemia, but didn’t allow this sickness to interfere with him making a living, nor living.
Mom remarked: “Although Eldon fought illness, he loved to work. Often, when he was off, a call came in for him to go in to cover a shift. He wouldn’t hesitate to get ready and go in to work.”
In spite of being born with Sickle Cell Anemia and fighting illness all of his life, Eldon was blessed with a wide network of friends.
Growing up in the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s, the Granaway Heights/Coral Acres Community, was a neighbourhood full of young people.
We can recall the Virgil family, the Quinn, Ratteray, Hannam, Hassell, Thompson, Lightbourne, Raynor, Bean, Bartley, Dill, DeRosa, Ming, Stovell, Robinson, Brangman families and so many others, whose surnames represent the children who grew up in our neighbourhood.
Our neighbourhood community became a vibrant community full of life with these adolescents. It was a time when Eldon became “Smutley” to his friends.
It should come as no surprise that Eldon would find a wife from the community, and it was from this union that they would produce Eldon’s offspring.
Eldon’s pride and joy was his son Damon, who came into this world when he was married to Marie Brangman.
In recent years, his grandson Daion and grand daughter Brianna brought him much joy.
In addition, for several years, he enjoyed a solid relationship with Cammie Smith, who always proved to be a loving friend.
Of course, his son Damon’s football was front and centre in Smutley’s life and he was proud to have encouraged Damon to be part of Kenny Thompson’s football programme, where he played in Holland, Cuba and even had West Ham United take a look at him.
Recently, Smutley was again excited for the prospects in football of his 11-year-old grandson, Daion, as foreign scouts have rekindled that hope again, as his football talent is attracting international interest.
While he supported whichever team Damon played, Smutley was an avid and devout Somerset Eagles supporter.
Eldon spent a great deal of his life working in the hospitality industry.
Many of his friends would remember him as an entrepreneur in the 1980s at Vision Video on Court Street and in Somerset.
He also became a well-known fixture at Bridgewater’s Auto Shop on Till’s Hill, on Court Street, next to PLP Headquarters.
Now you know that Smutley took special care of his cars and bikes. As a young man, Smutley was among the guys whose car was a trensetter in Bermuda. And of course he owned a detailed motorcycle that only came out on special occasions.
In recent years, he and Billy Joe Pitcher talked often, Billy especially, about their love for bikes.
Mom shared how the bikers, sometimes over 20, would converge at the homestead on a Sunday morning to pay him a visit, which delighted him and surely lifted his spirits.
Smutley could handle a bike, especially his Honda. His friends would call him the ‘Wheelie KING’. His friends can recall that on one occasion, he ‘popped a wheelie’, from Crockwell’s Chicke on Middle Road in Warwick to Whites Supermarket – yes on one wheel.
Eldon ‘Smutley’ Swan was extremely proud to work at the Fairmont Southampton Resort, where Herbie Bascome Sr, Kim Tucker, Orlando Simmons and others were like his family.
When he was in hospital in Boston, he chatted up the nurse and proudly shared: “I’m from Bermuda.”
The nurse told him she had visited Bermuda and stayed at The Reefs. Eldon urged her to return to Bermuda but he told her that she must stay at his hotel.
The next day, the nurse asked Eldon: “What is the name of the hotel you own?” Without missing a beat, Eldon said: “No, I work at the Fairmont Southampton on the 6th floor, where only the VIPs stay.”
When Eldon was nominated for the Visitor Industry Partnership ‘Employee of the Year’ award, we were all on pins and needles.
Although he didn’t win, we were all very proud of him for the recognition he received from amongst his peers.
We remember when Eldon took the tourism ambassador course, qualified as a tour guide and was hopeful of being able to drive taxi. He always expected to rebound from an illness and making a living was always in his thoughts.
Eldon was a fighter, but because of his illness, he was more of a spectator than a participant. Although he did enjoy golf and working on the golf courses with his brothers, Kim and Darron – both golf pros.
His will to live was as strong as it comes. He didn’t allow sickness to stop him from living a fun-filled life. Remember his 50th birthday bash at Ocean View Golf Course.
When he returned from Boston to Bermuda, after being unresponsive for some time in Boston, he really perked up during his last days.
He conversed with family and friends, even giving them instructions:
- He said to Uncle Bill: “Tell Kirk come down here and drive me home after dialysis.”
- To Kirk: “Call Ricky to cut my hair.”
- To Gary: “Ricky’s cell number is… tell Jenni come up here, her office is located at…”
- To Darron: “Call Billy Joe, Mario & Rambo, tell them I will check them next week.”
- To Aunt Muriel: “It’s in God’s hands.”
Ironically, Eldon’s final journey with illness came about because he had a life-threatening fall, where he nearly broke his neck.
When flown off island via air ambulance, it was because of this physical ailment and not because of the internal challenges that had plagued his life for five decades.
The last two months of his life epitomized the strength and will to live he demonstrated.
Eldon “Smutley” Swan had a wide range of friends up and down Bermuda. Through his many decades in the hospitality industry, there are numerous visitors whose vacations he has made memorable.
He will be truly missed but leaves many fond memories.