Gloucester — Alphonse J. “Al” Swekla, 86, husband of Leanora “Lee” (DiMaria) (Lutz) Swekla, of Gloucester, passed away on Wednesday, January 30, 2013. Born in Nashua, N.H. on May 17, 1926, he was the son of the late Ambrose and Helena (Marcheonis) Swekla.
Al was a graduate of Nashua High School where he was a star football player and member of an undefeated team that won the state championship in 1942. He then served in the U.S. Navy during World War II aboard the USS Kleinsmith. After the war, Al attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated with the Class of 1948. While at UNH, he was again a standout football and baseball player. He would later be elected into the University’s Hall of Fame. In 1950, he received his master’s degree in education from Boston University and later his Science Certification from Tilton University.
He began his teaching career in North Brookfield, MA After receiving his master’s degree, Al secured a science teaching position in Gloucester at Central Grammar. In 1965, he became the first Assistant Principal at the school. In the fall of 1972, he opened the newly purchased Milton L. Fuller School and then moved on to open the Ralph B O’Maley Middle School in 1974. From there, Al served as Assistant Superintendent of schools from 1981-1985. He was appointed Superintendent of Schools in 1985. He held this position until his retire- ment in 1988 due to heart problems. Following his retirement he remained active in local education and served as interim principal in both Gloucester and at Rockport High School. Although formally retired, Al continued to provide leadership to the City of Gloucester. Positions he held included member and vice chairman of the School Committee along with several terms on the Gloucester City Council, including President. In total, Al committed almost 50 years of his life to the city with 39 years in the school system and 10 years in political positions.