Swan, William Howard
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63, a beloved father, brother, friend to many, expert natural resource attorney, enthusiastic traveler, environmentalist, river runner, sailor and fisherman, passed away after a valiant fight against complications of leukemia on December 26, 2012 at Sherman Home Hospice in Phoenix, AZ. Bill was born on September 7, 1949, in El Centro, CA to Charles and Martelle Swan, the second of three brothers. Bill and his family moved from San Diego, CA to Scottsdale in 1960, where he attended Pima Elementary and then Coronado High School. He graduated from Arizona State University and later received a Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law in San Diego. Bill was a Field Solicitor in the Phoenix regional office of the U.S. Department of Interior, later becoming the Regional Solicitor and the lead negotiator for the US Government in the water rights quantification and settlement for a number of Native American Tribes along the Salt, Verde, and Gila River watersheds. It was under his watch that the CAP was built, with Bill being instrumental in quantifying its water allotments for AZ. In 1996 he moved to his own private legal practice specializing in the area of water resource law, focusing primarily on issues related to the 7 Colorado River Basin States. In the last decade he represented the Imperial Irrigation District through the law firm of Horton, Knox, Carter, and Foote LLP of El Centro, CA. In Arizona, he also provided some legal counsel in Indian law and water rights for the Hopi Tribe. Given his expertise in these areas of law, he often wrote and was invited to lecture on such topics. Bill is survived by his children, Ryan and Karyn, his former wife, Adele, his brothers Bob (Dixie) and Jim Swan, and a nephew, nieces and cousins. While his passing was too soon for many of his friends, family, and work associates, his suffering is over and people are comforted knowing that he and his impact will not be forgotten. A celebration of Bill's life will be held at Paradise Valley United Methodist, 4455 E. Lincoln Drive, at 2:00 p.m. on January 11, 2012, reception to follow in the church Fellowship Center. In lieu of flowers, the family would appreciate notes of remembrance, and if you desire, donations in his name to the Nature Conservancy or The Heifer Project.
Published in The Arizona Republic on Jan. 6, 2013