Dave Swearingen, former AP chief of bureau, dies at 73

GREENFIELD, Ind. — Dave Swearingen, a former Associated Press bureau chief who led coverage of Indiana’s first execution in more than two decades and the arrests of more than 1,000 demonstrators at the Seabrook nuclear power plant in New Hamp­shire, has died at age 73.

Swearingen died Aug. 1 in Greenfield, Ind., after a recent bout of pneumonia caused his health to fail, his family said.

The Bath, Maine, native’s journalism career spanned four decades with stints as chief of bureau in Concord, New Hampshire and Indianapolis.

He began working as a part-time newspaper photographer while in high school and worked at several newspapers in Maine before taking his first job with the AP in Augusta, the state capital.

Swearingen led coverage of a number of important stories. In Maine, he covered the creation of the state income tax; in New Hamp­shire, he led coverage of stories including the Seabrook protests; in Indiana, he oversaw reporting on four Indian­apolis 500 races and the first execution in two decades.

After leaving the AP, Swearingen returned to New England to serve as managing editor of The Standard Times in New Bedford, Massachusetts, and then editor of The Times Record in Brunswick, Maine.

He later worked on several technology projects for the AP before becoming a software consultant and weekly newspaper editor, retiring in 2004 because of declining health.

Swearingen was a proud product of Bath, Maine, where his father was fire chief and where Swearingen once drove the city ambulance. He was active in organizations, including the local Elks lodge, and he was a freemason. He served as a lay minister with Grace Episcopal Church.

Swearingen, who was survived by three sons and a daughter, moved eight years ago to Indiana to be closer to several of his children. He died at a nursing home.