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4/23/2019 | 1 MINUTE READ

Color Innovator Swain Dies at 90

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Founder of Chroma Color was a member of Plastics Hall of Fame and Plastics Pioneers Association.

Robert D. Swain, founder of custom color compounder Chroma Corp., died April 21 of cancer at his home in Michigan. He was 90. 

Swain had a career in plastics that began in 1951. He was a long-time member of the Plastics Pioneers Association (PPA) and was elected to the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2009. At the time of his induction, he was just the second person in the color compounding industry to be admitted to the Hall of Fame. 

Born in Cape May, N.J., Swain worked for Union Carbide and Enjay Chemical Co. before starting Chroma in 1967 in McHenry, Ill. to custom compound colorants for thermoplastics. The facility grew from a 1400 ft2 start up facility to a plant occupying more than 200,000 ft2 during his tenure. In 1984, a fire destroyed Chroma’s new 25,000 ft2 plant. Yet Swain was up and shipping product four days later—from a competitor’s plant, where he was invited to work for the next four months while his plant was rebuilt.

In 1978 Swain inducted into the PPA and later served as its managing director.

Swain moved from Illinois to Michigan in 2005. Following the sale of Chroma, he became a self-published author of children’s books with the release of Grandma’s Robin and Grandma’s Ragdoll. Swain was active in his St. Clair, Mich. community, joining the local barbershop choral group, the Rotary Club and sponsoring organizations such as K.I.D.S (Kids in distress), S.C.T.G. (St. Clair Theatre Guild), and several community-improvement projects.

Swain’s hobbies included golf, sailing and playing his ukulele. He owned 15 sailboats during his lifetime and was active in the One Design Racing and Cruising. He served on the Board of Directors of the Great Lakes Cruising Club, while extensively cruising the Great Lakes and Georgian Bay in a Columbia 43. Salt water cruising was primarily on the East Coast making three Blue Water passages from Maine to the British Virgin Islands.

He is preceded in death by his wife Judy Acheson Swain; his first wife and mother of his children, JoAnn Idell Swain; and Brother Charles A. Swain III. He is survived by his children, Susan S. Faurot (Alexander); Stuart D. Swain (Toni); and Megan S. Bogle; and  grandchildren Alexander Faurot, Katherine Bogle, William Faurot, Patrick Bogle, Harry Bogle, Skyla Swain, and Keelen Swain.





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