Cover photo for Theodore "Ted" Merryman Swain's Obituary
Theodore "Ted" Merryman Swain Profile Photo
1927 Theodore "Ted" 2020

Theodore "Ted" Merryman Swain

October 4, 1927 — April 10, 2020



Theodore Merryman Swain, 92, died peacefully after a brief illness on April 10, 2020, at Cascades (The Village) Assisted Living in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Ted was born on October 4, 1927, in Champaign, Illinois, the son of Joseph Ward Swain, a history professor, and Margaret Hatfield Swain, a homemaker. He was the younger brother of Henry Huntington Swain and Martha Swain Carlson. His childhood was happy although it was shaped by the Depression, the aftershocks of WWI and the rumbles of WWII. He enjoyed school, church, Boy Scouts and family. After graduating from high school in 1945, he enlisted in the Navy where he served until 1948.

Ted graduated as valedictorian from the University of Illinois in 1951 and with honors from Harvard Law School in 1954. He settled in Chicago where he worked as an attorney for over half a century. During a distinguished career in the legal profession, Ted served as Chief Deputy Assessor for Cook County and as a judge in the Circuit Court of Cook County, as well as spending many years in private practice. He was regarded as an authority on property tax law in Illinois, and he was the recipient in 2009 of the Abel E. Berland Award for Exemplary and Outstanding Service to the Civic Federation of Chicago.

Ted was well-known for his sharp intellect and his ironic sense of humor, as well as his kind and generous spirit. He enjoyed discussing ideas, and he enjoyed being around other people. He was endlessly good-natured, and throughout his life he remained young at heart.

He was married twice and widowed twice, and he fathered four daughters. He moved to Grants Pass in 2014.

He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, by his two wives Bonnie Lael Stone and Margaret Ann Byrne, and by his daughter Karen Elizabeth Swain.

He is survived by his daughter Carolyn Scott Swain, his daughter Dorothy Ann Swain, his son-in-law Gary Lee Lark, his daughter Barbara Joan Swain, and his granddaughters Sharon Swain Ulery and Kasey Swain Ulery.

A virtual memorial service will be held for family and friends on Saturday, June 20 at 1:30 pm Pacific time, hosted by the Unitarian Universalist fellowship in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Donations in Ted's memory may be made to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Theodore "Ted" Merryman Swain, please visit our flower store.

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