Donald Geschwindt, WWII vet, Swamp UCC pastor, dies

By on September 19, 2012

Donald F. Geschwindt

Donald F. Geschwindt, 88, formerly of Reinholds, passed away Monday, Sept. 17, 2012 at the Masonic Village of Elizabethtown.

He was born in Shoemakersville to the late Morris C. and Katie M. (Stitzel) Geschwindt and was the husband of the late Betty D. Geschwindt, who died in 1999.

After graduating in 1942 from Perry Township High School, Donald served in the U.S. Air Force for three years during World War II in Okinawa. Following the service, he worked as a milk tester for two years. He continued his education at Franklin and Marshall College, graduating with the class of 1952 and Lancaster Theological Seminary in 1955. Donald was the pastor at Swamp United Church of Christ (UCC), Reinholds, for 27 1/2 years. Prior to Swamp UCC, he was charged with four churches in Perry County and had a Landisburg charge, two churches in Centre County and a Hublersburg charge. After Swamp UCC, Donald was the interim pastor at Salem Hellers UCC, Leola. Donald helped to organize the Cocalico Ministerium. He served on the church and ministry committee of the Lancaster association.

Donald was former scout master in Shoemakersville. A life member of the Reinholds V.F.W. Post 6759, he served as the master of ceremonies for the Reinholds Memorial Day services for 20 some years. Donald was a member of the Ephrata Masonic Lodge #665, where he served as chaplain. He was also a member of the Lancaster Lodge of Perfection, the Reading Consistory, Rajah Shrine, a 33rd Degree Mason, James Buchanan High Twelve Club and Mountville Lions Club. A charter member of the Reinholds Lions, Donald served as secretary for 22 years and he was a Melvin Jones fellow. He was the pastor emeritus of Swamp UCC. Gardening, woodworking and tinkering are things Donald enjoyed.

He is survived by a daughter: Deborah A., wife of Christopher R. Lidle Sr., of Middletown; a son: Karl D., husband of Mary Ellen A. (Nosal) Geschwindt, of Emmaus; grandchildren: Sarita and Adam; brothers: Ray N., husband of Edith Geschwindt, of Hamburg; and Harold H. Geschwindt, of Shoemakersville; sisters: Mary Jane Keim, of Wyomissing Hills; and Ruth H. Hasenauer, of Elizabethtown.

A viewing will be held Sept. 21 from 6 to 8 p.m., followed by a masonic service at 8 p.m. at the Roseboro Stradling Funeral Home, 533 Walnut St., Denver. An additional viewing will be held on Sept. 22 from 9 to 10 a.m. at Swamp United Christian Fellowship Church, 390 Swamp Church Road, Reinholds, with Revs. Craig Snow, Elmer Reinhold Jr. and Bradley Haws officiating. Interment will take place in the Swamp Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Red Rose Honor Guard.

Memorial contributions in Donald’s memory may be made to Masonic Charities, c/o Hospice, 1 Masonic Drive, Elizabethtown, PA 17022.

Arrangements are being made by Roseboro Stradling Funeral & Cremation Services Inc., Denver. Online condolences can be given at

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