Grace Carroll Swarm, a former partner in a Stevenson gift shop and a talented flower arranger, died Jan. 6 of a heart attack at Howard County General Hospital. The Owings Mills resident was 79.

The daughter of William Hudson, owner of the Hudson Investment company, and Louise Hudson, a homemaker, the former Grace Carroll Hudson was born and raised in the Greenspring Valley.


Mrs. Swarm, who never used her first name, attended Garrison Forest School and graduated in 1952 from Noroton School of the Convent of the Sacred Heart in Greenwich, Conn.

She earned a bachelor's degree in 1956 from the old Bennett College in Millbrook, N.Y. Mrs. Swarm worked as a medical secretary until 1963 for several well-known neurosurgeons, including Dr. Richard J. Otenasek Jr. and Dr. Robert Crosby.

In 1957, she married John Lewis "Jack" Swarm and settled in the Greenspring Valley.

Mrs. Swarm was working at Arts & Objects in Pikesville when she and two partners, Sheila Hyatt and Ruth Towlen, established Accents Limited in Stevenson Village Shopping Center.

Mrs. Swarm retired in 1993 and the business was later merged with Jan Swartz's Morgan Truesdell Gifts and Candy in Stevenson.

Mrs. Swarm was a longtime member and former president of the Greenspring Valley Garden Club. She also taught flower arranging, lectured at Ladew Topiary Gardens, and was the author of the book "Designing for Christmas."

She also was an active supporter of the Irvine Nature Center.

"There were four integral parts of her life: her family, garden club, business and book," said her husband of 56 years, a retired Equitable Bank executive and real estate appraiser.

Mrs. Swarm was a communicant of St. Thomas Episcopal Church, 232 St. Thomas Lane, Owings Mills, where a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday.

In addition to her husband, Mrs. Swarm is survived by her daughter, Elizabeth Swarm Cook of Bel Air. Her son, John Lewis "Chip" Swarm Jr., died in 2001.