Clovis Gerald Swinney, 73, of Jonesboro, became a Saint for the second time on Wednesday, July 3, 2019, when he passed from this life at the Flo and Phil Jones Hospice House in Jonesboro. Clovis was born on August 17, 1945, in Mexico, Mo., to Stanley Clarence Swinney, Sr. and Nella Dorcas Fitzgerald Swinney. The son of a Southern Baptist Minister and an elementary school teacher, Clovis attended Junior High and High School in Jonesboro. Clovis also lived in New Orleans, Houston, New York, Hot Springs, and Little Rock but returned permanently to Jonesboro, the place he called home. Clovis was a "bigger than life" figure to many who remember him as a tremendous athlete at Jonesboro High School where he won the Lowell Manning award in 1965 for his contributions to the Hurricane basketball and football teams. He went on to play football with Arkansas State University Indians where he played in the Pecan Bowl in 1968 and 1969 and received the Most Valuable Defensive Player Award in 1969. Clovis was awarded Most Valuable Defensive Player in 1969 while playing in the North-South Shrine Game and Southland Conference Player of the Year in 1968 and 1969. He also made the Commercial Appeal All-Mid South Team in 1969, SLC All-First Decade Team (1964-73), All-Time ASU Team (1909-1975), All-Conference First Team Player in 1967, 1968, and 1969, All-Time Letterman, and a team starter of the Arkansas State University All-Centennial Football Team. Clovis is a member of the Letterman's Club, and holds a place in the ASU Hall of Honor (1989 inductee). Drafted in the third round of the NFL draft in 1970 by the New Orleans Saints, Clovis went on to play professional football for the Saints, the New York Jets, the Houston Oilers and the Southern California Suns for the next seven years. Clovis was a Golden Glove Boxer, played baseball and basketball and was an Arkansas Racquetball Champion for eight years in a row. As an all-around athlete, he was an arm-wrestling champion, Tough Man Champion, and played tennis. In addition to sports, he served as a Deputy Sherriff for Jefferson Parrish in New Orleans and Pulaski County in Little Rock. Clovis worked as a car salesman for Abernathy Motor Company, managed a restaurant and sports bar and even served as a substitute teacher at his alma mater in his later years. In addition to his parents, Clovis was preceded in death by his son Heath Swinney, his sister Ruth Bratten, and a niece Jill Maxfield Lawson. Clovis is survived by his daughter Allyson Reed (Randy) of White Hall, two grandsons Hunter Reed (Lacy) of White Hall and Cade Swinney of Paragould, two great grandsons Levi and Christian Reed both of White Hall, a niece Jan Maxfield Roberts and a nephew Jeff Maxfield. Visitation will be Saturday, July 6, 2019, at Emerson Funeral Home from 6-8 p.m. with a Celebration of Life service on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at 2 p.m. at the Emerson Funeral Home Chapel. Burial will be private. Online registry at www.emersonfuneralhome.com.
Published July 5, 2019