Richard R. Swann (1940 – 2019)
Our friend and partner Richard Rockwell Swann passed away suddenly on August 21, 2019.
Richard joined his father’s law practice in 1963 after graduating from Duke University. In addition to his considerable talents as a real estate and business lawyer, Richard was a visionary businessman who started a local bank, title insurance company, life insurance company and numerous development companies that were integral in allowing Central Florida to transition from a medium sized agricultural community to the globally recognized region it is today. In the early 70s, Richard quietly met with Universal Studios’ executives to investigate the possibility of locating in Central Florida. Richard assembled the acreage that ultimately became today’s theme park and continued to represent Universal Studios Florida for decades thereafter. Able to see Central Florida’s potential fifty years into the future, Richard established the building blocks necessary to realize that potential.
Richard Swann was a longtime leader in both the Florida and National Democratic Parties. Richard was one of Jimmy Carter’s earliest supporters and served as his Florida Finance Chairman in the 1976 and 1980 presidential campaigns. He was appointed by President Jimmy Carter to the Overseas Private Investment Corporation for the period 1977 to 1982, and served on the Overseas Investment Reinsurance Group from 1978 to 1982. He served on the Orange County Expressway Authority from 1973 to 1975, and was appointed by Governor Bob Graham to serve as a Director on the Florida High Speed Rail Commission from 1984 to 1988.
In remembering Richard, President Clinton wrote, “I loved being in the same room with Richard Swann. His bright smile and supporting gaze made you feel that any storm could be weathered; any mountain could be climbed. I admired his fine mind, good heart, fierce devotion to the people who he loved and the causes he believed in and the dignity and determination with which he bore life’s losses and dealt with its setbacks.”
Richard always put his family first and is not only remembered as a local and national leader, but also a loving father and grandfather. He is survived by his four children and twelve grandchildren. Richard will be greatly missed by all who knew him.