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Leonard M. Swell

March 17, 1928 - December 22, 2017

Jazz Musician


Service Date: December 28, 2017

In Lieu of Flowers: Please consider making a donation to Compassionate Care Hospice. 400 West Blackwell Street Dover, NJ 07801

Obituaries » Leonard M. Swell

Leonard M. Swell passed on to eternal life on Friday morning, Dec. 22, 2017, at Compassionate Care Hospice in Dover, NJ. He was born in Newark on March 17, 1928.

A 1945 graduate of Irvington High School, Mr. Swell was a masterful jazz musician (clarinetist and saxophonist) who played in wedding bands and studied arranging during the later years of the Big Band era. He was also a business owner in West Caldwell for more than thirty years. He had studied Business at Rutgers University and Mechanics at Essex County Vocational-Technical School. Prior to retiring just before his 84th birthday, he inspected cars for the NJ Motor Vehicle Commission in Randolph, where he worked for about ten years.

A great family man known for his sweet, quiet demeanor, Leonard was an avid do-it-yourselfer. He and his son, Steve, remodeled the lower level of the Swell family home in Union to create what became known as “Len’s Den.” He instilled in his children and grandchildren a great passion for music and theater and attended countless performances through the years. He was a man of very strong convictions and valued family above all.

Leonard is survived by his four children: Steve Swell (and Barbara Manes) of New York City, Cynthia Myers of South Plainfield, Kathleen Burke of Randolph, and Patricia Nemeckay (and husband, Steve) of Dunellen; five grandchildren: Patricia Burke Wagoner (and husband, Justin) of Hopatcong, Jillian Wilchez of Queens, NY, Jennifer Myers (and Javier Alvia) of South Plainfield, and Calvin and Sara Nemeckay of Dunellen; and six great grandchildren: Erica and Evan Pitts, Macario Wilchez, Antonio Santiago, Javier Alvia, and Benicio Lebron. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Nathan Swell and Ruth (Sahn) Swell-Friedman; his sister, Sally Shulman; and his first wife, Lorraine Swell. His surviving nieces are Suzanne Shulman-Bevier of Portland, OR, Nancy Shulman-Harris of Lac Cruces, NM, and Peggy Gundlah-Higgins of Kirkville, NY.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend his Graveside Service at 11:00a.m. on Thursday, December 28th 2017 at Mt. Lebanaon Cemetery, Iselin. Visiting Hours will be on Wednesday, December 27th from 4:00 – 7:00 p.m. with a 6:30 p.m. service at Par-Troy Funeral home. 95 Parsippany Road, Parsippany. (973)887-3235 or visit In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to Compassionate Care Hospice. 400 West Blackwell Street Dover, NJ 07801.