The deputy mayor pro tem of Grand Prairie died Tuesday from COVID-19, the city says.
Jim Swafford, 84, had represented District 2 on the Grand Prairie City Council since 1998 and was named the city's mayor pro tem five times by his colleagues on the council, according to the city.
Swafford and his wife Judy both contracted COVID-19 in early October, the city said. Jim Swafford was hospitalized and put on a ventilator shortly after he came down with the virus, while Judy Swafford was hospitalized briefly before she died at home from complications with the virus in late October.
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"This is a devastating loss for the city, both as a government and as a community," Grand Prairie Mayor Ron Jensen said. "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."
Though Jensen said he wasn't shocked by the news, he said the loss brought a mix of emotions including anger.
"There are still people who don’t think this is real, and I lost a good friend who I’ll miss," Jensen said.
In addition to his consecutive 22-year stretch as a council-member, Swafford served on the council from 1977-79.
"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."
Swafford retired in 1996 as president and CEO of Nations Bank/Bank of America. He was married to Judy Swafford for 59 years. They are survived by two children, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.