Ken Swan, former chairman of The Club in Abu Dhabi, dies at the age of 73

Kenneth George Swan, a long-time British resident and key figure in the capital’s expatriate community, has died at the age of 73 last Thursday in Al Ain.

Ken Swan, a long-time resident of Abu Dhabi, managed a successful freight company for about four decades. Courtesy Dizzy Swan
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ABU DHABI // Kenneth George Swan, a long-time British resident and key figure in the capital’s expatriate community, has died at the age of 73 last Thursday in Al Ain.

For nearly four decades, Swan managed a successful freight company in Abu Dhabi.

He also served as chairman of The Club, the oldest social venue for expatriates in the capital, from 1990 to 1995. He continued to serve the club until his death.

In 1976 he partnered Salem Saif Al Mohairbi to set up Al Mohairbi Clearing and Transporting Company. He also met his future wife, Rose, that year.

Mrs Swan said she was devastated by her husband’s death because she had recently persuaded him to retire to her native Philippines. Swan’s strong work ethic contributed to the success of the company, said his nephew, Simon Wootton, an assistant general manager at the firm.

“His passion in life was work. He would work Fridays, late evenings, anything to go the extra mile,” said Mr Wootton.

Swan could not tolerate making promises that he would be unable to keep, and he made sure neither did the company, he said.

As such, it quickly developed a reputation for reliability and punctuality.

“We weren’t the most economical option in transportation, but we definitely were the most reliable,” said Mr Wootton.

David Spearing, a former chairman of The Club and a long-time Abu Dhabi resident, said he first met Swan in the late 1970s.

“It was 1979, when The Club was the only outlet for expats as even hotels had not yet built facilities for our social activities,” he said.

“Club members used to be close to the point that you would walk in and recognise everyone. Even the Friday curry lunches were cooked in homes back then.

“Once you met Ken you became his friend, that was the kind of man he was.”

In a letter to club members, Mrs Swan asked for donations to be made to his favourite charity, the U&I College Scholarship Foundation, which aids children in the Philippines.

A service will be held at Al Foah crematorium in Al Ain at 10.30am on Friday, followed by a commemorative gathering at The Club from 1pm to 4pm.

tsubaihi@thenational.ae