From the City of Grand Prairie
City of Grand Prairie Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford died from COVID-19 Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020, while hospitalized at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center. He was 84 years old. He and his wife Judy contracted the virus in early October. Mr. Swafford had been hospitalized and ventilated shortly after contracting the disease. Mrs. Swafford was hospitalized briefly and passed at home from complications of the virus in late October.
“This is a devastating loss for the city, both as a government and as a community,” said Mayor Ron Jensen. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they cope with the loss of both parents. I’ve known Jim more than 40 years and have lost a dear friend and confidant. Jim was a force of nature, with a sharp analytical mind, a memory for details, objective decision-making skills, combined with a servant’s heart to help others. The City Council counted on his input, wisdom and blessing of the very intricate and complex nature of city government finances. This virus has taken two close friends from us. Jim and Judy will be greatly missed.”
Swafford was elected to represent Grand Prairie City Council District 2 in 1998 and repeatedly thereafter through 2020. He also was named Mayor Pro Tem five times by the City Council. Swafford had previously served as a Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem from 1977-1979.
“Jim was on the top of his game when it came to the budget and finances, and one of my great friends,” said City Manager Tom Hart. “This world is a little darker today. Jim was direct and funny, competitive and compassionate, honest and stalwart. He was the only person still on City Council who hired me in 1999. I’ll miss his personal and professional support, conversations, golf advice, humor and thoughtfulness.”
A long-time leader in the community known for his savvy financial skills, Swafford retired in 1996 as President and CEO of Nations Bank/Bank of America and its predecessor banks. Swafford was a graduate of Arlington High School, the University of Texas at Arlington and the Southwestern Graduate School of Banking at Southern Methodist University.
Swafford was Vice President and Finance Chairman of the Grand Prairie Sports Facilities Development Corporation as well as Chairman of the City Council’s Finance and Government Committee. Before being elected to the City Council, he had previously served on the city’s Housing Finance Corporation, and TIF Districts 1 (Chairman), 2 and 3.
Swafford spent a lifetime helping others through a life of service. He sat on the Board of Directors of the Methodist Health System in Dallas since 1985; was a member of the Methodist Mansfield Hospital Advisory Board; was elected to the Grand Prairie Independent School District Board of Education 1984-1993 and was its President 1985-1986. Swafford was an Honorary Life Member of South Grand Prairie Quarterback Club and the “Voice of the Warriors” for more than 40 years. He served as President, Corporate Secretary and Asset Manager of the Grand Prairie Quality of Life Foundation, Inc.; won the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce Zeus Award in 1998; and was Vice-President and a Life Member of the Grand Prairie Chamber of Commerce (Member of the Year 1970 and 1976; Citizen of the Year 1996). He was Vice-President of the Grand Prairie Crime Commission; Past-President of the local Lions Club; member and director of the Grand Prairie Rotary Club; a Past Master of the Arlington Masonic Lodge; member of the DeMolay Legion of Honor; and a Board Member and Treasurer of the Grand Prairie YMCA. He and Judy were avid golfers, and he played a mean game of racquetball.
The Swaffords were married for 59 years, and are survived by their two children, Robert and Renea; two grandchildren, Jane Anne and Johnson; and two great-grandsons, Graham Nolen and Colby Joseph.