Former Commissioner Bill Swaim dies

Published 12:00 am Monday, June 20, 2011

By Sarah Campbell
SALISBURY — Former Rowan County commissioner Wilborn “Bill” Swaim, 94, died at Rowan Regional Medical Center on Sunday, less than a week after his wife, Elinor, died at their Richmond Road home.
The couple had been married 70 years.
They met when Bill served as the town clerk in Chapel Hill.
After Swaim served overseas as a finance officer for the military during World War II, the couple moved to Randolph County before landing in Salisbury in 1962.
Swaim, a native of Winston-Salem, was president of Carolina Maid Products in Granite Quarry from 1967 until he retired in 1990.
The couple are well-known for their strong ties to the Republican party.
“I told Elinor I couldn’t marry a Democrat,” Bill Swaim told the Post in 1986.
Bill Swaim was first elected to the Board of Commissioners in 1986. He was re-elected in 1990.
“I’ve always been interested in politics and local government,” he told the Post during his ’86 campaign.
Longtime friend Mary Messinger describes Bill Swaim as a man who was always very interested in what was going on.
“He was politically oriented and community oriented,” she said Sunday. “He was just a really fine all-around man.”
Bill Swaim served as past president of the Rowan Rotary Club and vice-president of public affairs for the Salisbury-Rowan Chamber of Commerce. He was a member of the Rowan Department of Social Services and Rowan County Board of Elections.
The Swaims were also members of First Presbyterian Church.
Swaim is survived by his daughter, Moffett Churn of Raleigh; his sons, Douglas Swaim of Charlotte and David Swaim of Salisbury; and seven grandchildren.

There will be a combined memorial service for the Swaims 2 p.m. Wednesday at First Presbyterian Church. 

Contact reporter Sarah Campbell at 704-797-7683.