H.M. Patterson & Son-Arlington Chapel

173 Allen Road Ne, Sandy Springs, GA


Eleanor Sexton Swann

October 7, 1926February 10, 2020

Eleanor Sexton Swann of Atlanta GA, wife of James P Swann, Jr. (JP), passed away peacefully on February 10th, 2020 at the age of 93. Eleanor was born in New York City on October 7, 1926 and graduated from New York University and the Fordham School of Law (one of three women in a class of 150). In 1955, after honeymooning in Havana, Cuba, Eleanor settled in JP’s native city of Atlanta. After committing most of her early years in Atlanta to raising three children, in 1972, Eleanor turned her immense athletic talent incredibly competitive spirit toward tennis which ultimately resulted in the induction into the Georgia Tennis Hall of Fame and the Atlanta Athletic Club Hall of Fame. Just a few of her tennis accomplishments include ranked #1 in GA women’s 45-singles in 1976-1979, ranked #1 in GA women’s 50-doubles in 1987 & 1990, ranked #1 in GA women’s 55-doubles in 1984, 1988 & 1990. In addition, Eleanor won 10 Southern Tennis Association senior tennis tournaments and was runner-up in the USTA National 45-Women’s Clay Court Championships. Many of Eleanor’s lifetime friends, especially those on her Bitsy Grant AA ALTA teams, came from her involvement in tennis.

Eleanor had the unique ability to combine competitiveness with sportsmanship all while engaged in civic causes. Eleanor received the Georgia Tennis Association Volunteer of the Year Award, The Friends of Tennis Award from the Georgia Tennis Association Foundation and the Senior Service Award from the United States Tennis Association. The USTA national wheelchair tennis trophy has been named in her honor. With her numerous accomplishments, Eleanor was widely known but too modest to acknowledge her nickname of the “First Lady of Atlanta Tennis”. In the early 2000’s Eleanor rekindled an old love of golf and once again displayed her athletic skills as a member of the Atlanta Athletic Club Ladies Nine-Hole Group where she made many new friends.

Her most passionate civic endeavor, which was inspired by her son with special needs, Jay (James P. Swann III), was her 30 plus year Board involvement with All About Developmentally Disabilities (and several of its predecessor organizations). She proudly accepted the Bobby Dodd Award in 1989 for her many years of service in memory of her son Jay.

Survivors include her husband of nearly 65 years James P. Swann, Jr, son Tony Swann (Lara), daughter Eleanor Tillman (Matt) and five grandchildren, Nicolas Tillman, Grant Tillman, Zoë Tillman, James P. Swann, IV and Cameron Swann, all of Atlanta. Also surviving is her sister Grace Cozad (Scottsdale, AZ) and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews. The Family wishes to thank the many caregivers at Brighton Gardens of Dunwoody, especially Agnes who is a true angel.

A memorial service will be held at 2PM, Friday, Feb. 14th at Mary Our Queen Catholic Church, 6260 The Corners Parkway, Peachtree Corners, GA 30092. The Family will receive guests at the Church immediately afterwards. Prior to the memorial service the family will have gathered for a private interment at Arlington Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in the honor of Eleanor Swann to the Bobby Dodd Institute, 2120 Marietta Blvd, Atlanta GA 30318-website- bobbydodd.org


  • A Memorial Mass Friday, February 14, 2020


Eleanor Sexton Swann

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