Grand Prairie City Council member and Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford died Tuesday of COVID-19, one month after his wife, Judy, passed away from the virus, according to city officials.
Swafford, 84, had been hospitalized at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center since shortly after he contracted the disease in early October. Judy Swafford was hospitalized briefly and passed away at home from complications of the virus on Oct. 29.
Dallas County and its cities are hamstrung to enforce mask rules and the number of customers…
“This is a devastating loss for the city, both as a government and as a community,” Mayor Ron Jensen said in a news release. “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 had been an integral part of the city’s leadership since the late 1970s, when he was a council member and served as mayor pro tem. He was elected to represent District 2 in 1998 and had been reelected eight times since 1999. He was named mayor pro tem in 2000, 2004, 2011 and 2015.
In 1996, he retired as president and CEO of Nations Bank/Bank of America. He most recently served as vice president and finance chairman of the Grand Prairie Sports Facilities Development Corp., as well as chairman of the council’s finance and government committee.
“Jim was on the top of his game when it came to the budget and finances, and one of my great friends,” City Manager Tom Hart said. “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.”
In an email, Deputy City Manager/Chief Operating Officer Steve Dye said that Swafford “was a champion for Grand Prairie who worked tirelessly to support city employees and advocate for our community members.”
Jim and Judy Swafford had been married for 57 years, according to his biography on the city’s website.
A memorial service for the Swaffords is tentatively planned for late 2021, “when the COVID risks subside, as the family does not want anyone to potentially contract the virus at a gathering,” Dye said.