Electrical Contractor magazine notes with sorrow the passing of our long-time National Electrical Code columnist, W Creighton Schwan. His career in the electrical industry spanned more than 60 years, beginning with his work as an electrician for the Army Air Corps during World War II. Returning home to the San Francisco area after the Armistice, Creighton worked as an electrician and electrical contractor and later as an electrical inspector for Alameda County, California.
In the 1960s he was hired as a field representative by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). This job took him all around the western United States and made him a familiar figure throughout the electrical construction industry. During this same period, Creighton studied electrical engineering at night through correspondence courses, finally receiving his Professional Engineer (P.E.) designation from the state of California—a hard-earned distinction of which he was very proud.
Following his retirement from NEMA in 1976, Creighton Schwan embarked on a new career as an independent Code consultant and author. He co-authored two well known textbooks, Practical Electrical Wiring and Wiring Simplified. More recently, he had finished a history of the National Electrical Code (collaborating with Electrical Contractor columnist David E. Shapiro) that is expected to be published later this year by the International Association of Electrical Inspectors (IAEI).
Creighton passed away on the afternoon of December 16, 2006, after a short but courageous battle with leukemia. He was with his wife and son. Still working up to the end, he turned in his final column for the magazine (to be published in the February issue), only a week before we heard he was gone. He had been a 50-year member of IAEI and a 65-year member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).
A good colleague, generous mentor and graceful writer, Creighton Schwan helped generations of electrical contractors, electricians and electrical inspectors sharpen their Code knowledge and improve their professionalism. He will be greatly missed. EC