Cover photo for James Ellery Swan's Obituary
James Ellery Swan Profile Photo

James Ellery Swan

October 6, 1937 — January 18, 2024


James Ellery Swan

James (Jim) Ellery Swan, 86, passed away January 18, 2024, in Waynesville, leaving behind a legacy of hard work, dedication, and a deep passion for life.  He was born on October 6, 1937, in White Plains, New York, to the late Charles and Eleanor Spilsbury Swan.  He was preceded in death by a half brother Myron Downs.


Education played a significant role in shaping Jim’s life.  He graduated summa cum laude from Union College in 1959.  In 1964, he graduated from Columbia University with a Master's degree in Linguistics.  Before completing his graduate studies, Jim served in the United States Army from 1961 to 1963 as a Clerk Typist in the Chemical Corps stationed in Anniston, Alabama. 

Jim spent the majority of his working years at Medical Economics, where he was Managing Editor.  His commitment to excellence and his exceptional leadership skills earned him the respect and admiration of his colleagues.  After a successful career in publishing, Jim retired and moved to Waynesville in 2000.

Beyond his professional pursuits, Jim was known for his wide-ranging interests.  He loved running and then walking.  He was an avid reader of books of all genres and loved to listen to classical music.  However, his true passion was photography, for which he found many subjects here in the mountains.  

Jim contributed to the community by participating in the Commission for Community Cleanup (CCC) litter pickups and was President of his development’s Homeowners Association for ten years.

Jim leaves behind his wife of 33 years; two sons, Jason Swan and Andrew Swan; and two grandchildren, Wyatt & Weston Swan.

Per Jim’s wishes, no formal services will be held.   In his memory, donations can be made to SARGE's Animal Rescue Foundation, 256 Industrial Park Dr. Ste B, Waynesville, NC  28786 ( or to Carolina Basset Hound Rescue, PO Box 80082, Charleston, NC  29416 ( 

The care of Mr. Swan has been entrusted to Wells Funeral Home of Waynesville and an online memorial register is available at "Obituaries" at 

To order memorial trees in memory of James Ellery Swan, please visit our tree store.


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