Denise Mary Svatos, a former vice president with Trans World Airlines and champion swimmer, died of Alzheimer's disease Aug. 7 at Sunrise Assisted Living in Severna Park. She was 55.
Born in New York City and raised in Birmingham, Ala., Ms. Svatos won Alabama swimming titles in backstroke and sprint events, and competed at the U.S. Nationals as a teen-ager, said her brother, Joseph Svatos of Washington.
She won a scholarship to St. Mary's Dominican College in New Orleans, later transferring to the University of Georgia and earning a bachelor's degree in 1969.
She earned a master of business administration degree in 1983 from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. At Wharton, she met architect Henry Thomas, whom she married in 1984. He survives her.
Ms. Svatos began working at TWA in 1969 as an international flight attendant. She became a corporate staff analyst, manager of the 1,800 international attendants, director of fuel management and then vice president for in-flight sales and marketing.
She moved to Maryland in 1999 and, until the late stages of her disease, participated in the Maryland Masters Swimming Program, the Morning Out Club for early-onset Alzheimer's patients, and courses in Japanese flower arrangement.
A memorial service will be held at 1 p.m. Aug. 22 at Community Beach of Round Bay in Severna Park.
In addition to her husband and brother, she is survived by two sons, Tristram Thomas and John Thomas, both of Severna Park; a daughter Coralie Thomas of Severna Park; her parents, Gerald and Rita Svatos of Arlington, Va.; and another brother, David Svatos of Washington.