Lloyd Swain, a familiar face to Charter Cable viewers and people at the many public events he filmed, died Monday at the age of 66.
Among the events he regularly filmed was the Tri-City Crystal Apple award ceremony honoring teachers. It was edited and shown on Charter’s public access channel.
“We call him the man behind the camera,” said Bruce Hawkins, superintendent of Educational Service District 123, at the 2014 ceremony.
Swain not only filmed the ceremony, but he also was surprised last year with the Special Achievement Award.
He was honored for supporting the educational award ceremony for 17 years, as well as for his work in the community on behalf of Charter.
“He is just genuine,” Hawkins said. “When he supports things, it comes from the heart.”
His friend Sondra Wilson said that whenever she was helping with a civic project and filming needed to be done someone would say, “Let’s ask Lloyd,” because he would never say no. He had an incredible love of the community, she said.
“He filmed everything,” including the Tri-Citian of the Year ceremonies, she said.
Swain had worked at Charter since 1984, after working at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for more than a decade. At Charter, he was the public access manager and helped broadcast local programming. He would interview politicians and other news makers in the Charter studio.
He liked his job and did not plan to retire, said his twin sister, Linda Zilar of Kennewick. But in November, his health deteriorated and he stopped working. He later would receive home hospice care from the The Chaplaincy in the Tri-Cities.
In March, he had celebrated 14 years post-treatment for cancer, and his work at Charter had helped him heal, Zilar said.
“Over the years he had some health challenges, but he never let it affect the way he lived his life,” Wilson said. “He always wanted to be around people, and he was kind to people. … He was always available to everyone.”
He always made his wife, Ruth, laugh, she said.
After beating cancer, he was in a hurry to accomplish his bucket list. That included buying a 1946 black Ford with white tube tires. He named her Betty — as in Betty Ford.
He was passionate about videography and also interested in still photography.
He liked learning new skills and was adept at working with technology. In the last few years, he had become interested in using a quadcopter — a drone equipped with a camera — to shoot video, said Tri-City photographer John Clement. The two became friends in junior high.
“He’s a Richland boy, born in Richland at Kadlec and a tried and true yellow and green Richland Bomber,” Ruth said.
He went to college at Washington State University on a voice scholarship. There he signed up to be a cheerleader so he could spend time on the field with the school’s mascot, she said.
He performed in several Richland Players and Richland Light Opera Co. productions. He played Stanley in A Street Car Named Desire and named his pug for the character. He also played Curley in Oklahoma! and Murray the Cop in The Odd Couple. Friends say he had a beautiful baritone voice.
He passed his interest in video to his stepson Nathan Smith and was Nathan’s true father, Ruth said. Nathan earned an art school degree in computer animation and “took after Lloyd’s love of using video to create happy moments,” she said.
“Lloyd had a passion to bring good things into people’s living rooms,” she said.
He his survived by his wife, twin sister, stepson in New York and brother Jerry in Arizona.
Einan’s at Sunset is in charge of arrangements.