Switzer was born August 17, 1941 in Fort Worth, Texas. He was raised in Aransas Pass, Texas, where he met his high school sweetheart, Cathy, who lived in Port Aransas. He received a BBA and MBA from The University of Texas at Austin; and he and Cathy married in 1963, when he entered graduate school.
Following graduate school, he worked for Fortune 100 Corporations in New York, Michigan, Ohio, and Texas. During his corporate career, his family relocated to different states eight times and lived in nine different homes. Cathy and Switzer’s three daughters were born in New Jersey, Michigan and Ohio.
He left his corporate career in 1976, when their children were young and relocated to Bryan-College Station -- so he and Cathy could raise their children in one community, and reinforce their commitment to family and God. After moving to B-CS, Cathy’s widowed mother lived with them for 22 years until her death; and Switzer moved his parents and grandmother to Bryan, where they lived until their deaths.
After owning and operating Central Texas Hardware in Bryan for ten years, he served as the president of four different banks. He also served on seven different bank boards. When he semi-retired, he continued to serve on bank boards, and developed University Preserve subdivision in College Station, where he and Cathy lived. In 2010, he accepted the governor’s appointment to the “State of Texas Select Committee on Public School Finance” that held statewide hearings to prepare a special report for the Legislature and Governor, for revamping the structure and funding to improve Texas public schools.
Following his ordination as a Permanent Deacon in the Catholic Diocese of Austin in 1988, he was assigned to St. Joseph’s Church in Bryan. After his ordination, he disengaged from civic activities that were not church or ministry related. Prior to this, he served as President of the B-CS Chamber of Commerce, two-time President of the Bryan Development Foundation (during the period Bryan Business Park was funded and constructed), three-time Chairman of the Bryan Civil Service Commission, founding Chairman of the B-CS/A&M Community Council, and founding Vice Chairman of the Texas A&M Chancellor’s Century Council (he was the only “teasip” appointed by the Chancellor to help organize the Century Council).
In 1984, while still engaged in a professional career, he began working with prison ministry. He then entered a four-year formation period for the Catholic diaconate. He conducted weekly church services at multiple prison locations, spent hours helping the families of inmates, and served as Chaplain for the Brazos County Jail. He conducted approximately 1,800 church services (three each Sunday) during the 12-years he served at the Brazos County Jail, and with the attendance of each service was limited to 30 or so inmates -- roughly 60,000 inmates attended his services during this 12 years. He and Cathy were active participants in the non-denominational “Bridges To Life” program, where they served three-to-four hours weekly at the Hamilton State Prison in Bryan. His wife, Cathy, also conducted religious education classes at the Bryan Federal Prison for women.
In 2005, the Bishop of Austin assigned him to St. Mary’s Catholic Church adjacent to A&M, where roughly a quarter of the student body is Catholic (A&M has more Catholic students than any other college in the United States). Prior to his brain cancer diagnosis, he annually worked with a hundred or more engaged student couples at A&M, who were completing the pre-marriage preparation required by the Catholic Church for a Sacramental marriage in the Catholic Church, or in another Christian Church. He served as an ordained member of clergy for the Catholic Church from 1988 until his death. He also served as a Board Member of the Austin Diocese Cedarbrake Retreat Center for almost 30 years, and as a member of the Finance Council for the Catholic Diocese of Austin from 1985 until his death. In 2000, he wrote an article titled “Finding the Comfort Zone With Life’s Journey” that was published in several national newspapers.
Following his brain cancer diagnosis and surgery at MD Anderson in 2008, he personally assisted a number of ill people. He believed his “first-hand” cancer experience, and his national certification as a spiritual director, enabled him to comfort and assist others who were ill. He also wrote for his seven a book on his life’s experiences, personal decisions, mistakes and spirituality for his 7 grandsons.
His parents were Howard and Lucille Deason; and Effie Deason was his paternal grandmother. His wife is Cathy, his brother Jerry Deason, and his three daughters, their husbands, and seven grandsons are: Stephanie and Bill Breedlove, Gretchen and Erik Randles, Heather and Jay Zynczak. The seven grandsons are: Davis and Austin Breedlove, Hunt and Grant Wyman, and Reid, Graham, and Cole Zynczak. Switzer’s grandsons will be his pallbearers.
Visitation and rosary 1:00 – 3:00 pm on Sunday, July 15 at Christ the Good Shepherd Chapel, 600 S. Coulter, Bryan. Funeral 11:00 am on Monday, July 16 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 507 E. 27th St., Bryan. Reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Bridges to Life, http://www.bridgestolife.org.