GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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February 5, 2013

A touching farewell to Al Swekla

Longtime teacher, civic leader laid to rest

Some were family members and longtime or newer friends.

Others were his former students, fellow veterans or colleagues who served with him as a school principal, superintendent, city councilor or school committee member.

People from all walks of Gloucester life turned out Monday morning to bid their final farewells to Alphonse, “Al” Swekla, the longtime teacher and civic leader who died last Wednesday night at the age of 86.

Swekla, whose calling hours were also held Sunday at the Greely Funeral Home, was honored with a funeral mass Monday from St. Ann’s Church, then buried at Beechbrook Cemetery in West Gloucester.

From his first teaching position at the old Central Grammar School in 1952, Swekla went on to become that school’s final principal before its closure, then served as principal at Fuller School and O’Maley Middle School before taking the reins as superintendent from 1985 through 1988.

He later served 10 years in city government as a city councilor and school committee member, and was also later active with the city’s World War II Memorial Committee and with the Addison Gilbert Hospital Citizens Fund, for which he served as president.

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