Around the Campfire

Remembering Gary Swetnam


It is with heavy hearts that we share the passing of Gary Swetnam, a beloved member of our Cheley community. Gary touched the lives of countless campers and staff during his thirteen summers of dedicated service as the Nurse at Boys’ Trail’s End. He was known fondly as “the heart of BTE.”

Gary’s commitment to the well-being of everyone at camp was unparalleled. He was solid, always welcoming with a smile and a gentle, self-assured presence at camp. His calm demeanor and unwavering care ensured that the BTE health center, Penicill-Inn, was not just a place of healing but also a source of comfort for those in need. With his wife Ruth by his side, Gary created a nurturing environment where campers felt safe and supported.

Beyond his role as a nurse, Gary embodied the spirit of camp life. His love for fishing along the North Fork and his willingness to impart wisdom to new nurses each summer exemplified his passion. Gary’s presence was not only felt in the health center but also in the hearts of those who knew him.

As we mourn the loss of Gary, we reflect on the countless memories and lessons he shared with us. His warm disposition, his love for life’s simple pleasures, and his dedication to serving others will forever be remembered. Gary leaves behind a legacy that extends far beyond the confines of camp.

To Ruth, his cherished wife, and his loving family, we offer our deepest condolences. Gary’s impact on the Cheley community will never be forgotten, and his spirit will continue to inspire us for years to come.

We are heartbroken. We will miss him dearly, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Ruth and their family during this difficult time.

Memorial Service:
Date: Tuesday, April 9, 2024
Time: 3:00 p.m. ET
Location: High Street United Methodist Church

Prior to the service, family and friends may gather at the church from 12:00 p.m. until 3:00 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to organizations dear to Gary’s heart:

Give Kids the World
210 S. Bass Road
Kissimmee, Florida 34746

High Street United Methodist Food Pantry
219 South High Street
Muncie, Indiana 47305