Friday, October 30, 2009

Thaxter Swan CIA Officer

Thaxter Swan, 86, an intelligence officer in the CIA for 32 years, died Oct. 22 of angiosarcoma, a rare cancer, at Friends Nursing Home in Sandy Spring. He lived in Silver Spring.

Mr. Swan began his career with the new Central Intelligence Agency in 1947 on the operations side. Three years later, he moved into the analysis division and twice was stationed in West Germany with his family, in 1953 in Bonn and in 1961, Munich. He was fluent in German.

When he returned to the United States, he worked in the Office of Current Intelligence, where he produced daily intelligence reports for executive decision makers. Later, in the foreign liaison department, he worked closely with the intelligence organizations of U.S. allies. He retired in 1979.

Mr. Swan was born in Boston and grew up in Hingham, Mass. He served in the Army in Europe during World War II. After the war, he graduated from Harvard University. After his CIA career ended, Mr. Swan and his wife enjoyed world travel and spending time at their farm in the Shenandoah Valley near Stanley, Va. After moving to Leisure World in Silver Spring in 1994, he was active in civic affairs in the housing association, the C&O Canal Association and the Association of Former Intelligence Officers.

He researched his family history and genealogy and over 15 years wrote a three-volume, 600-page book highlighting vignettes of his life and of his ancestors. He self-published the book for 80 family members and friends this year.

His wife of 58 years, Ruth Swan, died in 2006.

Survivors include four children, Lucy Swan of Olney, David Swan of Purcellville, Thomas Swan of Pittsburgh and Robert Swan of Portsmouth, N.H.; and 12 grandchildren.

-- Patricia Sullivan

John J. Pajak Tax Court Judge

John J. Pajak, 77, a special trial judge for the U.S. Tax Court in Washington from 1979 until his retirement in 2005, died Oct. 18 at Brighton Gardens, an assisted living facility in Charlotte, of asphyxiation by choking on food.

During his tenure with the Tax Court, he served as a liaison special trial judge from 1984 to 1985 and the chief special trial judge from 1985 to 1987.

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