Thomas Benton Swift, 78, died at his home in Jamestown, R.I., on March 10, 2021. The cause was cancer.

He was born in Boston, Mass., on Sept. 25, 1942, to Mary Titus Swift and Charles Moore Swift. He graduated from Phillips Exeter Academy and the University of Pennsylvania.

Tom enjoyed a successful career in commercial real estate development working with Hines Interests and took great pride in his role in the development of architecturally significant buildings in urban centers across the country.

His commitment to education, the arts and land conservation was reflected in his service as a trustee for Exeter, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Sun Valley Center for the Arts and the Wood River Land Trust.

His love of the mountains began as a child hiking the White Mountains of New Hampshire and drew him to trails in the Khumbu of Nepal, to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, throughout the Sawtooth Mountains of Idaho and elsewhere around the world.

Tom and his wife, Joan, made their home in Sun Valley, where they raised their boys. With his daughters and first wife, Judy, Tom lived in Greenwich, Conn., Houston and San Francisco.

Tom was a committed high school and collegiate rower and an avid sailor and boater. His passion for the water led the family to the coast of Rhode Island, where they enjoyed spending their summers and exploring the waters of New England with Tom at the helm. Adventure and travel motivated Tom, but not more than his love of family and friends.

Tom is survived by his wife of 30 years, Joan Gillespie Swift; his sons, Benton and Nicholas Swift; his daughters, Nancy Chandler (Tom), Lindsay Wheaton (Chris) and Hilary Keith (Jason); his brothers, Charley (Linda) and David (Andrea); and his five grandchildren, Ali, Annie, Meskerem, Simon and Mihret.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a contribution to CISF (Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation) at or the Sawtooth Society at

A celebration of Tom’s life will be held at a later date.