Donald James Swofford

May 13, 2022

Donald James Swofford, 72, saw his faithful life on earth fulfilled by the promise of everlasting life in heaven on May 13, 2022. Don leaves a legacy defined by his integrity and character of grace, patience, selflessness, gentleness and justice. He had a true gift for prayer, always speaking from his heart rooted in an unshakeable belief in God. Don never met a stranger, and he never failed to put others before himself. Don’s playful sense of humor resulted in an arsenal of legendary stories his family and friends loved to hear and Don loved to tell with a twinkle in his blue eyes. His family will miss him endlessly.

A native Charlottean, Don ran track, played football and sang in the choir at East Mecklenburg High School. He graduated from UNC Charlotte with a degree in business administration as a member of the Kappa Sigma fraternity. Don married his high school sweetheart, Selina Balentine Swofford, in 1973, and they enjoyed 48 years of marriage filled with adoration and love. Don owned several businesses throughout his career, including Swofford Associates, a specialty commercial flooring contractor business. He was a mentor to the men he employed, and he often went above and beyond to ensure their care.

Don was a dedicated member of St. John’s Baptist Church, where he sang in the choir for nearly 50 years, taught Sunday School, led the youth group, served as a life deacon, and participated in many Habitat for Humanity projects.

Nicknamed “the human tool,” there was nothing Don couldn’t build or fix. He loved to spend weekends with his family at Marigrove, the magnificent antebellum home that he and Selina, an interior designer, restored on 86 idyllic acres in Chester County, South Carolina. Don was in his element at Marigrove, whether gardening, beekeeping, hosting parties or bringing Selina’s many ideas to life.

He is preceded in death by his parents, James Lewis Swofford and Lexie Miller Swofford; his sister, Lena Swofford Gordon; his brother, Robert Lewis Swofford, and sister-in-law, Linda Clayton Swofford; and his brother-in-law, James Holmes Carson Jr. He is survived by his loving wife, Selina Swofford; sister Jean Terrien (Michael); brothers- and sisters-in-law Linda and Leonard Balentine, Syble Carson and Richard Gordon; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews who thought he hung the moon.

A service to celebrate Don’s life will be held at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, May 18, 2022 at St. John’s Baptist Church with the Reverend Dennis Foust officiating.

The family would like to thank Dr. John Fedor and Amy Tucker of the Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute and the medical team at Atrium Health’s Dickson Heart Unit for their compassionate care of Don.

Donations in Don’s memory may be made to the music ministry at St. John’s Baptist Church (300 Hawthorne Lane, Charlotte, NC 28204), Habitat for Humanity of Charlotte (PO Box 220287, Charlotte, NC 28222) or the American Heart Association (PO Box 840692, Dallas, TX 75284).

Don ended every prayer with, “in His name we pray for peace.” May that prayer be carried on by all who knew and loved him.

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC; 28204 (704) 641-7606. Online condolences can be shared at

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  • Candyce Crosby Eller

    Selina, I am so saddened by Don’s passing. I’m so glad you two had 48 years in marriage together as well as many many memories and laughs. It stared with the billboard on McAlway proclaiming “Selina, will you marry me?” How wonderful that was!
    I had fun being a majorette with you at East. I have many happy memories.
    May the Lord watch over you especially during this very difficult time.
    Much love,

  • Kimberly Helms

    I was so saddened to hear of Don's passing and send my sincere condolences to Selina and his family. Don was my 6th grade Sunday School teacher at St. John's in the mid-1980's. He told our class a story about the importance of noticing the little things in life that inspired me to write a poem, which later won a poetry contest. He lived a life of faith and service observable to all who were blessed to have known him.

  • Nancy Black Norelli

    Don was a high school classmate before I was assigned to the new Independence High School. He was a thoughtful and gracious young man who escorted me to the sweetheart dance. The lovely obituary was a wonderful tribute to a life well lived!

  • Tom Wicker

    I met Don when I was in the 9th grade. He ran track at McClintock junior high and I ran track at Smith Junior High. Don's dad was actually principal at Smith, when I was in school there. In the summer of 1967, Don and I were working construction at JA Jones Construction. We were working on the Belk building where they had poured all the cement pillars three feet too high. Don and I had volunteered for an extra 20 cents an hour to jack hammer the beams down three feet each. In order to do this, they had to build scaffolding 15 feet in the air to get to the top of the beams. Don would hold the jack hammer horizontally while I would jack hammer the beams, and then we would switch off. At the time we did not realize how dangerous this was and no one else did either. When I ran into Don over the years, we got a big kick out of these stories every time. May God bless you and your family in your time of need.

  • Sherrie Mills

    Selina May You find ongoing Love and Peace in this ever so difficult time of grief and loss of Don. Bask in the beautiful lifetime memories that You and Don created!!

    My Prayers in Love and Peace,


    My sincere condolences to Selina and family. My memories, like everyone else's of Don at EMHS (and later) brought smiles to my face. Don always had a kind word or smile or something funny to say. He was one of the absolutely nicest people I have ever known. I am glad he was part of my life. Rest well, Don. You did good!

  • Maria Thevaos Beasley

    Selina, I am so sorry for your loss. May his memory be eternal.

    I was a classmate at East.

  • Skip Autry

    Sincerest condolences to Selina, family and friends. Knew Don since the sixth grade at Oakhurst Elementary and continued through Jr High, High School and College at UNCC. We were team mates in football and track and fraternity brothers in Kappa Sigma. He was always a team player and out standing athlete. Quite the gentleman.

    Enjoyed catching up with Don at high school reunions.
    So sorry for his loss. RIP

  • Doy Dean Aycoth

    How blessed we were to have Don in our lives. His leadership, his love and his laughter is eternal now.