Steve Schwinghamer will finish the last three years of Denny Spinner’s term as Huntingburg’s mayor.
Spinner will take over as the executive director of the Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs in December.
Schwinghamer, 69, was chosen in a caucus of the four Huntingburg Republican precinct committeemen Thursday evening at City Hall. He will officially take office on Wednesday, November 25. A swearing-in ceremony is planned for that morning at 8 a.m.
Schwinghamer said he looking forward to stepping into the position but acknowledge Spinner’s leaving big shoes to fill. “I was surprised when he decided to move on,” he said. “I know that he has worked hard.”
According to Schwinghamer, when the news broke that Spinner would be resigning, several people approached him, but he said he wasn’t interested. “But I got to thinking, I love the city, I love the town. I was born and raised here before I moved to Florida. This has always been home,” Schwinghamer said. “Between Becky and I, we have 16 grandchildren; 12 still live here and are growing up here and I want to make sure not only for them but for all the kids and children around that the city is a great place to call home.”
Schwinghamer said he is expecting to carry forward with the update of the city’s comprehensive plan, continue work on the economic vitality of the city, and working with the Latino community to further inclusiveness. He is also interested in working with the youth of the community.
“I am big into the youth,” he said. “Obviously, that is our future. We need to take care of our youth and make sure they want to come back here. I think that is a very important part of it.”
Schwinghamer said he never had political aspirations but he felt it was time to get involved.
“As you get older, you start seeing how things that are going on and how the world is doing things and you think, ‘geez, if I am going to complain about it, I better get involved in it, otherwise I shouldn’t complain about it,” he said.
Schwinghamer is a retired funeral director and serves as president of the Fairmount Cemetery Board in Huntingburg. Although retired, he is still busy with woodworking as well as remodeling, and flipping homes. “I’m busier now than I was when I was directing funeral homes,” he said.
His father moved the family to Florida when Schwinghamer was 17. There, he graduated from high school and attended Miami Dade College’s mortuary program. After graduating with an associate’s degree, he obtained his funeral director’s license. He spent most of his career working at several funeral homes in Florida. When he retired, he knew he needed to return to Huntingburg and did so in 2011.
“This has always been home,” Schwinghamer said about that decision. “No matter how you look at it, home has been here, not down in Florida.”
He and his wife, Becky, live on W. 3rd Street where they built a home.