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Bivins Lavernne "Tookie" Swords

January 3, 1938 — October 18, 2023

Elberton, GA

Bivins Lavernne "Tookie" Swords

Mr. Bivins Lavernne “Tookie” Swords, 85, of Washington Highway, Elberton, husband of the late Dolores Elizabeth “Dee” Isom Swords, entered into rest on Wednesday, October 18, 2023, at his residence. 

Mr. Swords was born in Elberton on January 3, 1938, son of the late Bivins Carithers "Buck" Swords and Allie Sue Smith Swords. He was a proud 1956 graduate of Nancy Hart Memorial High School who still enjoyed keeping up with his classmates. Following graduation, after a brief stint in Texas working with his uncle in a work camp, he went to work at Elberton Manufacturing Company. This began a lifelong career in the textile industry, and he retired from the Elberton plant after 25 years of service. Tookie then went to work at the Hartwell Company where he retired as a supervisor after nearly 20 years of service.

An avid outdoorsman, he was a lifelong farmer who enjoyed working his farm land. He loved Elberton’s Fortsonia Community, a place Tookie always considered home. He loved camping on Newford Creek and spending time at the lake with his family and friends. He is to be credited for generations of Elbertonians learning how to swim and water ski. 

The foundation of his faith was instilled in him at a young age at Fortsonia Baptist Church, and he remained a member there his entire life. Tookie was also a member of the Elberton Jaycees for many years, having served seven of those years as president. He was also a member of the Philomathea Masonic Lodge #25, and a member of the Elberton Elks Lodge. 

A classic car enthusiast, Tookie enjoyed traveling to various car shows, especially annual trips to Pigeon Forge with his dear friend, Dennis Wilson, whom he loved as a son. He was proud to have had the opportunity to chauffeur Jerry Lee Lewis and Lester Maddox around Elberton. One of his favorite past times was hosting New Year “shindigs” where family and friends alike would come together and enjoy music, food, fireworks, and most importantly, fellowship and fun. Tookie proudly participated in mission trips to Mexico with Mallorysville Baptist Church in Tignall, and was a licensed pilot. 

After suffering a life altering paraplane accident, he became a patient at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta where he learned how to live daily with his spinal cord injury. Although a trying time in his life, he never gave up and proved just how strong and determined he was. He was also proud to use this time in his life to later participate in the Medical University of South Carolina’s Aging and Participation after a Spinal Cord Injury. In true Tookie fashion, he used this experience to be able to help someone else. 

He enjoyed lunch at Richard’s Restaurant almost daily, and appreciated the Richard’s staff for sending him a plate often when he was unable to go. After the death of his wife, Tookie took on a new hobby - technology. It didn’t take him long to grasp the iPhone concept and use it to keep up with those dear to him via Facebook. Just recently he was able to participate in a podcast with Chaz Bray. 

Affectionally known as “Papa,” he was most proud of his entire family. Surviving are his children and their spouses: Rina and Bob Thomas of Elberton and Mark and Judi Swords of Byron; sister, Frances Anne and Mack Schlock of Elberton; special friend that he loved as a son, Dennis Wilson; grandchildren: Beth and Kevin Eavenson, Chance Swords, Matthew and Kassidy Swords, BJ Thomas, Stuart and Beth Thomas, and Allen and Stacy Thomas; great-grandson, Will Eavenson; nine step-great-grandchildren; and a host of other relatives and friends. 

He is preceded in death by his parents, Buck and Allie; wife, Dee, to whom he was proudly married for 55 years, 9 months, and 29 days; and brother and sister-in-law, John and Toni Swords. 

The family will receive friends on Saturday, October 21, from 5:00-7:00p.m. at Berry Funeral Home. 

Memorial services celebrating Tookie's life will be held on Sunday, October 22, at 2:00p.m. in the Memorial Chapel of Berry Funeral Home with the Rev. Gary Purvis and Mr. Jimmy Bryant officiating. Having lived most of their life literally on the side of Highway 17, Tookie found it appropriate that he and Dee be laid to rest in the same manner; therefore, burial will be roadside at Forest Hills Memorial Park, in the Swords family lot. 

Fellow car enthusiast are invited to drive their classic cars in the funeral procession.

At Tookie’s request, the family respectfully ask everyone attending to please dress casually. 

Contributions may be made in his memory to the Shepherd Center Spine Injury Recreation Therapy Fund, 2020 Peachtree Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30309. 

Those wishing may sign the online guestbook at www. 

Berry Funeral Home & Crematory of Elberton is respectfully in charge of arrangements for Mr. Bivins Lavernne “Tookie” Swords.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Bivins Lavernne "Tookie" Swords, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Saturday, October 21, 2023

5:00 - 7:00pm (Eastern time)

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Memorial Service

Sunday, October 22, 2023

2:00 - 3:00pm (Eastern time)

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Sunday, October 22, 2023

Forest Hills Memorial Park

Highway 17 South, Elberton, GA 30635

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