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Clifford Swisher ’48, ’51 MA

Historian, Little Falls Historical Society

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clifford swisher

For the past 15 years Clifford Swisher has been the town historian for the Little Falls Historical Society, a group whose mission is to collect, preserve, promote and interpret the social, artistic, commercial, political and cultural history of Little Falls, New Jersey. A graduate of Montclair State College, Swisher was born in Flushing, New York, and has lived in Little Falls since the age of 17. He’s spent 63 years married to his wife, Shirley, and together, they raised nine children (six girls and three boys) and have 18 grandchildren. His years spent serving on the board of the historical society and living in Little Falls show his commitment to the community.

As town historian, Swisher is responsible for the collection and preservation of all files of people and places in Little Falls. His next project is to transfer any existing files to an external drive. He is one of 10 executive board members and previously served as president for three years. Throughout his time serving on the historical board he has worked with the Beattie Mill which, during World War II, produced flame throwers and other weapons.

Swisher, a U.S. Navy veteran, served during World War II from 1942 to 1947. While serving, he worked on the USS Hildalgo, a Navy supply ship where he maintained projectors and other supplies.

Last July, the Passaic Valley High School board of education presented Swisher with a plaque for his efforts in preserving the history of the high school, as well as his work with the historical society. His level of spirit for the town of Little Falls is unparalleled.

“One of my proudest accomplishments came many years ago when I broke my wrist,” he recalls. “The doctor suggested that I exercise my fingers, so I learned to play the piano. As a result I ended up writing the Passaic Valley High School alma mater which continues to be sung to this day.”

He graduated from Montclair State in 1948 with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and later earned his teacher’s certification and taught math for adults at the Clifton adult school. Using his work experience from his time in the Navy, he became the district’s director of audio-visual education. As such, he was responsible for the maintenance of film projectors and took inventory of all the textbooks for the district. Overall, he worked in the district for 35 years.

Swisher’s ongoing relationship with Little Falls serves as a great example of a graduate engaged in his community.