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Wallace Swanson

Wallace Swanson Obituary
Swanson, Wallace Martin 69, passed away at home on June 23 after an extended battle with respiratory illness. Wally was born August 22, 1941 in Fergus Falls, Minnesota to Marvin Swanson and Mary Lindsey Swanson. He was the grandson of Judge and Mrs. Wallace H. Lindsey, Sr. of Alabama and Martin Swanson, born in Norway, and Julia Falk Swanson. He attended Fergus Falls High School and then attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota immediately after graduation for a summer semester in 1959. He subsequently attended The University of Minnesota, from which he graduated with honors in 1962 at age 20. Wally received a law degree, with honors, from the Southern Methodist University School of Law, where he served as the Leading Articles editor of "The Southwestern Law Journal". He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Alpha Tau Omega, Phi Alpha Delta legal fraternity and the Order of Barristers. After beginning his legal career in 1965 with a focus on banking and securities law at the Dallas firm of Coke & Coke, Wally, along with Art Hewett, John Johnson, and Lin Barbee, co-founded the firm initially named Hewett Johnson Swanson & Barbee and, later, Johnson & Swanson. While at that firm for more than 18 years, Wally and his partners grew the firm from five lawyers to one of the most prominent law firms in Texas with over 250 attorneys in offices in Dallas, Austin, Houston, Washington D.C., and Berlin. In addition to his involvement in the growth and development of Johnson & Swanson's general business, Wally was a practicing attorney concentrating his practice upon corporate and securities matters, including the representation of both underwriters and issuers in public offerings, involvement in mergers, acquisitions and the negotiation of transactions involving privately held businesses. While also practicing law, he co-founded and was involved in the management of the Village companies, which was one of the largest investors in real estate in the Park Cities area of Dallas for much of the 1980's. Wally was also among those instrumental in organizing Ace Cash Express, Inc., which in 1987 purchased the check cashing and related businesses from the Associates Corporation of North America. He served as the Chairman and CEO of Ace through 1988, and remained there as a Director until 1995. In 1990, he organized State Street Capital Corporation, which, together with its affiliates, purchased more than 3,000 loans from the RTC, FDIC, and other financial institutions. In 2000, Wally moved from Dallas to Ennis to pursue his dream of establishing Camp Wolfgang - a non-profit organization devoted to the rescue, rehabilitation, and placement in loving homes of at-risk German Shepherd Dogs. Named after his beloved pet Wolfgang, Camp Wolfgang successfully placed over 2,000 dogs, all of which were saved from certain death or continued misery. Wally was a member of the Texas, Dallas, and American Bar Associations, was inducted into the Texas Bar Foundation in 1984, and has been included numerous times in "The Best Lawyers in America". He served on the Council of the Corporation, Banking and Business Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and was also a member and Chairman of the Securities Committee of that Section. Wally's playful manner, unique use of the English language, and huge heart were known by all who knew him. The following excerpt from an article that appeared in "American Lawyer" magazine describes Wally perfectly: "Around the firm, Swanson is known for his flowery manner of speaking. I always tell him, 'Swanson, anytime you have a chance to use a nickel word you use a fifty-cent word instead', a fellow partner says. Instead of saying he doesn't understand something, he'll say, 'that's less than abundantly clear.' You need a Ph.D in literature to follow him." Wally was a member of Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. He was preceded in death by his parents, Marvin Swanson and Mary Lindsey Swanson, and is survived by two children, Kristen Lindsey Swanson and husband George Dimitri, Eric Munger Swanson and wife Kara, and grandson Charles Munger Swanson. A graveside funeral is planned for 10:30 am on Wednesday, June 29, at Richville Cemetery in Richville, Minnesota. A Memorial Service will be held in Dallas at the Cox Chapel at Highland Park United Methodist Church on July 7 at 10 am. The family suggests that memorials be to Operation Kindness at 3201 Earhart Drive, Carrollton, TX 75006 or a favorite charity.

Published in Dallas Morning News on June 28, 2011
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