Swafford, Jerry Dan

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Jerry “Dan” Swafford, project associate and curriculum specialist for Virginia Cooperative Extension, has passed away at his Christiansburg home.

Swafford was an enthusiastic member of the National FFA Organization and was a certified drone pilot. On a clear day, he could most likely be found at Kentland Farm in Blacksburg, mentoring students and faculty alike in the art of flying drones and using them to conduct valuable research. In 2018, Swafford and his research team were featured in a local news media segment highlighting the benefits of drone technology on area farms.

During his time with Virginia Cooperative Extension, Swafford was instrumental in developing and implementing innovative STEM programming and research. He initially developed impactful energy education programs and then branched out to help broaden STEM education offerings for both 4-H and FFA. In 2011, he received the Outstanding Service Award from the Virginia Association of Agriculture Educators and in 2020, he was inducted into the Virginia 4-H All-Stars.

Prior to his service to Virginia Tech and Virginia Cooperative Extension, Swafford worked as a teacher in Buckingham, Appomattox, Goochland, and Montgomery counties. He spent 29 years of his 39-year teaching career at Christiansburg High School.

Swafford earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Missouri and a master’s degree from the University of Central Missouri. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve for 17 years.

He is survived by his wife of 32 years, Bettibel Kreye; a twin brother, Dean Swafford; his daughter, Amanda Swafford (Justin Packard); bonus children Charlie Kreye (Jessica Kreye), Katharina Kreye Alcorn, and John Kreye (Fallon Kreye); grandchildren Campbell, Abigail, Carliegh, Scarlett, Kennedy, Bondurant, Keegan, and Amos; and cherished puppies Rusty and Gus.

A celebration of life gathering will be held for Swafford in the spring or summer of 2023.

The family asks for any donations to be sent to Virginia FFA Association, Dan Swafford Legacy Fund, 115 Hutcheson Hall (0908), Blacksburg, VA 24061.