Tributes have been paid to a former Royal Marine Commando and well-known town businessman who never lost his sense of adventure.
John Swales, who founded Hartlepool haulage company Clevestone Transport, passed away in hospital last week aged 93.
The devoted family man was due to celebrate his 70th wedding anniversary to wife Edna, 87, on Valentine’s Day.
Action man John had a passion for vehicles, even opening his own motor museum, and enjoyed flying and sailing.
John’s family said: “He was always on the lookout for new money making ideas, he always had a hunger for the next adventure in his life.”
Born into a large Hartlepool family, John was the eldest of 10 children.
He always had a hunger for the next adventure in his lifeFamily of John Swales
When the time came to leave home he joined the Royal Marine Commandos during the Second World War and served all over the world including South Africa, Egypt and Gibraltar.
He met his future wife Edna, a land girl, when he was based near Winchester and they enjoyed a whirlwind romance before marrying on February 14, 1946.
Two years later the couple set up home in Hartlepool. John had various driving jobs working long hours before working with close family at Swales Brothers haulage company in 1953.
He later started a coach company, entered the car transporter business and bought vintage cars leading to him opening Scarborough Motor Museum in the 1970s.
Later John worked for years at family haulage firm Clevestone Transport which was started by his sons David and the late Malcolm and where John still visited daily in recent years.
His family added: “Haulage was his life, he made many friends along the way; businessmen, employees, accountants, solicitors the list was endless.
“Employees would say he was a hard man but fair. Everyone knew if they had any troubles or tragedies in their lives John would help if he could.”
Among John’s many hobbies, which also included gardening, he learned to fly and had his own plane at Teesside Airport.
He also owned leisure boats and enjoyed sailing in the Lake District on happy weekends with family and friends.
John and Edna had six children; Julie, David, Linda, Carole, Diane and the late Malcolm. He was also a much-loved grandfather of 13 and great-grandfather to 22 children who he was devoted to. They called him Grandad Gizzy after the name of John’s dog who went everywhere with him.
John’s family added: “John will be sadly missed by his family, friends and work colleagues but his memories will live on forever.”
His funeral takes place on Friday, February 5, at All Saints Church, Stranton, at noon. Two Royal Marine Commandoes will act as bearers.
The family expressed their thanks to consultant Kevin Moore and staff Jonathon and Richard at North Tees hospital A&E department for the care and compassion they gave to John and his family.