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Kingdon W. Swayne, 88, Bucks teacher

Kingdon W. Swayne's life formed a circle that began, and this week will be completed, at George School in Newtown Township, Bucks County.

Kingdon W. Swayne's life formed a circle that began, and this week will be completed, at George School in Newtown Township, Bucks County.

In 1920, Mr. Swayne was born on the Quaker campus, the son of two teachers there.

A memorial service is planned for tomorrow at George School to celebrate the life of the man, who closed his career as school historian and archivist.

On April 22, Mr. Swayne, 88, the first Democratic mayor of Newtown Borough, from 1970 to 1972, and Bucks County treasurer from 1972 to 1976, died of Alzheimer's disease at Sunrise at Floral Vale, an assisted-living community in Yardley.

Mr. Swayne had two 20-year careers, as a Foreign Service officer from 1946 to 1966 and as a history and political-science teacher at Bucks County Community College from 1967 to 1987.

His third, a dollar-a-year retirement career at George School, lasted 18 years until 2006, when finally he called it a life well spent.

Mr. Swayne graduated from the school in 1937, earned his bachelor's degree cum laude at Harvard University in 1941, and served in the Army during World War II, rising to infantry captain with the Third Army of Gen. George Patton and earning a Bronze Star.

A Quaker in the military was unusual, Mr. Swayne wrote in a biographical sketch, "but I believed Hitlerism was a greater evil than war, so I was drafted."

All three of Mr. Swayne's brothers, though Quakers, fought in World War II, his nephew Stephen said.

"It was definitely," Stephen Swayne said, "about service to the country."

After the war, Mr. Swayne's Foreign Service postings were mostly in the Far East.

But his first job was in London, issuing "immigration visas to the thousands of GI brides waiting to join their husbands," he wrote.

In China from 1949 to 1951, he processed "applications for recognition as American citizens by Chinese who claimed to be the sons of fathers who had migrated to America and become citizens."

It was a scam. And he was proud that he broke it up.

After studying Japanese at Yale University, he worked in Washington and in Japan from 1953 to 1963.

The high point was a Kennedy White House luncheon at which he was translator for the Japanese prime minister and, he wrote, for "the two ladies he sat between - Jackie Kennedy and Mamie Eisenhower."

Mr. Swayne wound up that career as head of the political and economic sections of the U.S. Embassy in what was Rangoon, Burma.

In 1967, Mr. Swayne earned a master's degree from Lehigh University.

It took him only two years after leaving Burma to reestablish himself politically in his hometown. When he was elected mayor of Newtown in 1969, by a vote of 348 to 282, The Inquirer reported that registered Republican voters outnumbered Democrats, 4-1, in the borough of 2,100 residents.

Back in Newtown, Mr. Swayne was also back at George School.

He served on its governing board from 1974 to 1988, as presiding officer of that board from 1976 to 1984, as historian from 1988 to 1992, and as archivist from 1992 to 2006, during which he wrote the school's history for its centennial in 1993.

Mr. Swayne also wrote the centennial history (1897-1997) of Friends Home, the retirement community in Newtown where he lived. And he wrote the 50-year history of Newtown Friends School, of which his mother was founding principal in 1948.

All that didn't seem enough to consume his energy.

Mr. Swayne was also a board member of the American Friends Service Committee in Philadelphia from 1973 to 1980, an AFSC spokeswoman said, and he was presiding clerk of the annual assembly of Quakers known as the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting from 1984 to 1986, a meeting spokesman said.

He is survived by 10 nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow at the meetinghouse of George School, 1690 Newtown Langhorne Rd.