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Grand Prairie Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford and wife die weeks apart from COVID-19

"This virus has taken two close friends from us. Jim and Judy will be greatly missed," said Mayor Ron Jensen.
Credit: Submitted
City of Grand Prairie Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford

Updated at 5:16 p.m. with more information about Jim Swafford's career.

Grand Prairie Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Jim Swafford died Tuesday from COVID-19, according to a news release from the City of Grand Prairie. 

Swafford had been hospitalized at Methodist Mansfield Medical Center since early October.

He was 84. 

Sources say Swafford contracted the virus from his wife, Judy, who was being treated for Alzheimer's and got COVID-19 from a caregiver. 

Judy Swafford was hospitalized for COVID-19, then sent home, where she died in late October, city officials said. 

Jim Swafford was hospitalized for COVID-19 and was put on a ventilator after he contracted the disease.

“This is a devastating loss for the city, both as a government and as a community," Mayor Ron Jensen said in a news release. 

Jensen said he knew Swafford for more than 40 years. 

“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," Jensen said. "This virus has taken two close friends from us. Jim and Judy will be greatly missed.”

The Swaffords were married for 59 years. 

They are survived by their children, Robert and Renea; two grandchildren, Jane Anne and Johnson; and two great-grandsons, Graham Nolen and Colby Joseph.

Swafford had a long tenure as a public servant in Grand Prairie. He was elected to City Council in 1998 and stayed on council until his death. He was named Mayor Pro Tem five times. He was also a member of the Grand Prairie Independent School District school board from 1984-1993 and served as its president from 1985-1986. 

He retired as president and CEO of Nations Bank/Bank of America and its predecessor banks in 1996, but he put his financial skills to use in the community as well. He sat on the Board of Directors of the Methodist Health System in Dallas since 1985 and was a member of the Methodist Mansfield Hospital Advisory Board. 

He also served as vice president and finance chairman of the Grand Prairie Sports Facilities Development Corporation and served as chairman of the City Council’s Finance and Government Committee. He was a member of Grand Prairie's Housing Finance Corporation before he was elected to City Council.

Swafford was a graduate of Arlington High School, the University of Texas at Arlington and Southern Methodist University's Southwestern Graduate School of Banking.

“This world is a little darker today. Jim was direct and funny, competitive and compassionate, honest and stalwart," City Manager Tom Hart said in a news release. "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.”