Philip Lockwood Swift, a skilled craftsman and ever-congenial dispenser of gardening advice — the man in dreadlocks at Jardin Mahoney’s garden center — died Feb. 13, 2016, after a long fight with cancer. He was 65.
Philip was born in New Bedford on Sept. 16, 1950, and baptized at Grace Episcopal Church, the son of Clarence B. and Louise P. Swift.
After graduating from high school in New Bedford, he attended Bristol Community College before traveling to Jamaica, where he became enamored of reggae music — a love which was to continue to the end of his life.
He lived in North Carolina and Fort Myers, Fla., before moving to Martha’s Vineyard. It was in Florida that he met his future wife Linda, known to all as Regie. Their marriage took place on the shores of Lagoon Pond in 1993. On the Vineyard, Philip worked in boat repair and refinishing, as well as craftmaking, before finding his home at Jardin Mahoney’s nursery, where he loved his co-workers and they loved him.
Many customers may not have known his name, but they will remember the man in dreadlocks who dispensed expert garden advice. His hobbies included fishing, intricate woodworking, and guitarmaking. Philip built some quality instruments, with many parts crafted by hand. His love for animals, both wild and domestic, was well known. He loved his cat Tosh and walking his dog Yogi into town and down to the Lagoon.
He is survived by his brother, Palmer Swift and his wife Jo-Ann of Stafford, Va.; and two nieces, Jessica Swift of Burbank, Calif., and Lauren Swift of Reston, Va. A memorial service will be held in April to honor his memory. The date, time, and Island location will be announced at a later date.