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Long-Time Resident, Investment Banker William Sword, Dies

Matthew Hersh

International investment banker and Princeton resident William Sword, Sr., died at home Thursday in Princeton Township after battling a long illness. He was 80 years old.

An international investment banker with two firms – Morgan Stanley & Co. and Wm Sword & Co.– Mr. Sword joined Morgan Stanley in 1954 after five years working for Princeton University. He became a partner of Morgan Stanley in 1962 and helped the firm execute its growth plan in the 1960s and 1970s, leading several initiatives, including the mergers and acquisitions department; attracting clients; and recruiting many of the company's future partners and leaders. He formed his own Princeton-based investment banking firm, Wm Sword & Co., in 1976.

Mr. Sword, who had lived in Princeton since graduating from Princeton University in 1946, was remembered Tuesday by a standing-room-only memorial service at the Nassau Presbyterian Church. Dr. Richard Judge, a roommate of Mr. Sword's when they attended Princeton University, remembered Mr. Sword's assistance in fitting into the Princeton social scene.

Dr. Judge likened himself to George F. Kennan, the late diplomat who, like Dr. Judge, hailed from the Midwest.

"Like Kennan, I was overwhelmed with the Princeton social structure," he said. "But Kennan didn't have Bill Sword: I did."

Dr. Judge lauded Mr. Sword's openness and ability to create friendships. "Bill was open, generous, and kind," Dr. Judge said. "Not only did he adopt me, but his family adopted me."

Mr. Sword's daughter, Molly Sword McDonough, remembered her father's enthusiasm for Princeton – both the town and the University – as a "life decorated in orange and black." "Dad was very proud to be a member of the class of Œ46," she said.

She also recalled her father's adoration for her mother, Sally Pitcher Sword, Mr. Sword's wife of 55 years, and how her parents enjoyed dancing with each other.

In Mr. Sword's later years, even as he fought his last illness, Ms. McDonough said her father took time to know those who took care of him. "As was Dad's way, he became a friend and champion of the people who took care of him."

Mr. Sword's son, Bill Sword, Jr., recalled that his father's admiration for his mother was such, that he would call himself "Mr. Sally Sword."

That respect and admiration was what defined Mr. Sword, his son said, adding that his father "developed friends wherever he went," as was "abundantly evident" at Tuesday's memorial.

Dr. Judge caught the spirit of the memorial, however, by emphasizing that his college roommate's belief in friendship spread to those who were befriended: "I learned the meaning of friendship – friendship that goes on and on – and only ends for one reason, and that's why we're here today."

Mr. Sword served on the board of directors of several companies including Roadway Services, where he was chair of the Executive and Finance Committees; American Brands, now Fortune Brands, where he chaired the Audit Committee; GAF Corporation; Holly Corporation; Mathematica, Inc.; Nassau Broadcasting Co.; United Penn Bank; and Kepner-Tregoe. A lifelong volunteer, he served as a member of the Board of Pensions of the Presbyterian Church USA; as Chairman of the YMCA Retirement Fund; and as a trustee of Wabash College, Union Theological Seminary, Wyoming Seminary, The Church Farm School, The Francis Asbury Palmer Foundation, The Center of Theological Inquiry, The Hun School, The Princeton Area Community Foundation, Wilkes College, Camp Dudley, and The Princeton HealthCare System Foundation. He also served as an elder of Nassau Presbyterian Church. He was a member of the State of New Jersey Health Care Facilities Financing Authority and served as chair of its Finance Committee. He was also president of his Princeton University class.

Born in Parsons, Pa., on August 1, 1924, the son of William Oscar and Viola Schaad Sword, Mr. Sword grew up in Mountaintop, Pa., and attended Wyoming Seminary, then Princeton University as a scholarship student. He served in the U.S. Army, the U.S. Army Air Corps, and the U.S. Navy in World War II, and returned to Princeton after his military service.

He is survived his wife; two sons, William Jr. and Richard Morgan; two daughters, Molly McDonough and Sarah Lazarus; and ten grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Princeton HealthCare System Foundation, 253 Witherspoon Street, Princeton 08540.

Funeral arrangements were by The Mather-Hodge Funeral Home.

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