Dentist Dr. Edwin Swords Jr., 92, passed away suddenly Tuesday evening at Northside Hospital-Cherokee. Swords was recovering from surgery at the hospital after he'd fallen last week at home, said Canton City Councilman Jack Goodwin.
Goodwin, who was Dr. Swords' son-in-law, said his father-in-law's "unexpected" passing came as a shock to the family. Just on Monday, Goodwin said the dentist was laughing, in good spirits and seemed to be on the mend.
"He'd survived surgery on his hip and was recuperating," he added. "He was cutting up and having fun. Even the nursing staff was cutting up with him."
His daughter and Goodwin's wife Debra Swords Goodwin noted the family was "devastated" by the loss.
Goodwin said her father loved Canton, its people, his profession and was truly "the kindest man I have ever know."
"He always had a smile on his face," she wrote on her Facebook page. "He always said he had the best job in the world and he lived in the best town in the world. He loved everything about Canton. I am so proud to be his daughter and only hope I can be half the person he was. He represented the word love."
Goodwin said the family will begin making arrangements for the funeral service, which he said will take place at Darby Funeral Home. He noted friends and other members of the community are reaching out to the family to express their condolences.
"Canton is a wonderful place to live," he said. "I always said I wouldn't live anywhere else."
Dr. Swords is the founder of the Swords & Phelps Dentistry, a business his son Dr. Edwin Swords III has helped carry on.
Dr. Swords originally opened the dental practice in 1951 in an office above the old Smith Grocery Store near West Main Street, according to his biography on the practice's website. In 1975, he moved the practice near its current location on Waleska Road.
A native of Illinois, Dr. Swords graduated from Eastern Illinois University and served in the military between 1943 and 1946. After his service, Dr. Swords received his doctorate of dental surgery in 1950 from Emory University in Atlanta.
Along with enjoying hiking and gardening, Dr. Swords has been a fixture at the Peachtree Road Race each year. He has participated in the race as one of its oldest runners.