It is with great sadness that the Amapas Neighborhood Association announces the passing of our long time President, Tom Swale. Tom died at age 71 unexpectedly in May, 2018. As Tom was the heart and soul of our very active neighborhood association located in Puerto Vallarta, and many members are out of town during the off season, it has taken the Board some time to reorganize and plan a proper and fitting farewell.
Tom’s Memorial Service will be held on Saturday, November 17 at his beloved beach. Specifics will be released closer to the date by the ANA. Tom’s brother Steve recognized the special place so many of us in Amapas have in our hearts for Tom. Hopefully, this date will allow people out of town for the summer to attend this gathering of remembrance.
Tom Swale moved to Puerto Vallarta from Los Angeles in 2006, after a successful career as a television writer, with his long time partner Carl Romeo. Carl passed away in January, 2016 after a brief illness. Tom joined the ANA in 2012 as President and threw himself into the job with the passion and energy that everyone so admired. Under his leadership the association grew from 40 to over 350 members, and the annual budget grew by 20 times to over $1,000,000 pesos. The ANA has become one of Puerto Vallarta’s largest and most successful neighborhood associations, and focuses on promoting Responsible Development, improving streets and infrastructure, assuring security and providing social opportunities for members. In recognition of Tom’s involvement in civic affairs, the Puerto Vallarta City Council had recently appointed him to Puerto Vallarta’s Sister City Committee with San Francisco CA. Tom was beloved by many in the community for his dedication and optimism. As Tom observed with the initiation of a memorial fund for his husband Carl, “Society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in.”
“I won’t mince words, losing Tom was a huge blow to our Association and to each of us personally,” said long time friend and Treasurer Don Pickens. “It was unexpected and a brilliant light in the community went out so suddenly, we had to regroup and recover to decide how to move forward. But ultimately, we know that to honor Tom’s work and memory each of us must step up to keep the ANA strong.”
Tom’s last major project was to extend the sidewalk along highway 200, which is used by many community residents and tourists alike. Approximately $500,000 Mexican Pesos will be needed to make this happen, and the ANA will announce a memorial fund to this end shortly. Anyone who would like to donate can please write to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Among Tom’s many accomplishments were paving of the entrance at Hortencias street, creating the first part of the Highway 200 sidewalk, creating alliances with Puerto Vallarta police to address security issues, creating the Drag Derby fundraiser held each year at Puerto Vallarta’s Gay Pride event, and working closely with the city and many experts to create new zoning laws to promote Responsible Development in Amapas.
The ANA has recently filled two Board memberships vacated by the resignations of Yasmin Todd (who moved from the area) and Harris Spiridonidis, who provided dedicated service to the ANA for many years. Longtime resident Robert Howell, and returning Board Member Robin Spencer will join the Board.
Most importantly, the ANA has separately announced that Board Member Sylvia Toy will serve as Interim President until the next Annual meeting in February. Sylvia’s experience and energy serving the ANA are greatly appreciated by the Board and everyone wishes her great success in this new endeavor.
“Community activism requires selfless behavior – Tom was the perfect role model. I can’t fill Tom’s flip flops, but I will do my best to keep ANA moving forward,” she added.
Contact ANA at email@example.com or at our offices at 111-3 Rodolfo Gomez in Puerto Vallarta.