Planet Princeton

Hurricane Sandy Leaves One Dead in Princeton Township (Updated)


A Princeton Township resident died last night after a large tree fell on him in his yard on the Great Road as Hurricane Sandy swept through the area.

William Sword, Jr., 61, the investment banker who survived a stabbing in 2003, died last night at the scene. Sword, a 1976 graduate of Princeton University, was the managing director of William Sword & Co., Inc. He also served on the board of directors of Centurion Ministries, the Princeton non-profit that works to free innocent people from prison.

Sources say Sword was concerned that a tree on his property was going to fall, so he went out to cut the tree down with a saw. He realized the wind was too strong and started to head back in the house when another tree fell on his driveway and he was trapped under it.

The accident happened around 8:30 p.m. Rescue workers had a hard time reaching the area because trees were blocking the Great Road. The Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad responded to the scene and initiated life saving measures that were unsuccessful. Sword was pronounced dead at the scene.

Sword was the victim of  the stabbing that made national headlines in 2003. Jelani Manigault, a University of Maryland senior who was taking part in a family religious retreat at the Tenacre Foundation, stole his parents’ car and crashed it into a tree outside of Sword’s home. Sword offered assistance to Manigault, who rushed into the house, took a knife from the family kitchen, and stabbed Sword several times. When police arrived the 24-year-old student was on the front lawn wielding the knife and advancing toward them. Police shot and killed him.

This story will be updated when we have more information.


Krystal Knapp

Krystal Knapp is the founding editor of Planet Princeton. She can be reached via email at editor AT Send all letters to the editor and press releases to that email address.

  • Vicki

    Payson and Family, I am so very sorry for your loss. Lean on each other in this very difficult time.

  • Martin Bahar

    Condolences to the Sword family.

  • Roger F. Gordon

    A true Princetonian and great supporter of the Princeton Basketball Program. I have lost a wonderful friend.

  • Larry Foti

    I got to know Mr. Sword at the golf club I work at and he belonged to. He was one of my favorites; an extremely decent, nice man. I will miss him terribly. Please know that your father, husband, neighbor, friend was one of the best persons I got to meet through work. He has left a void that we all must try to fill in his honor.

  • I have known the Sword family for over 50 years. I worked with Bill and his brother Dick at their father’s firm Wm Sword and Co. I was in Bill and Martha’s wedding. I was so saddened to learn of Bill’s tragic death. He was a great person and a quiet champion for those in some kind of need. He and his family introduced my son and our family to the wonderful Camp Dudley. My son, Jamie, had a wonderful experience there. The camp’s motto is “the other fellow first”. In my mind that sums up Bill. My thoughts and prayers go out to Martha and their children and the whole Sword family. God Bless

  • Bill was truly a man of honor and someone I grew to admire as we worked together over the last couple of year. He will be greatly missed.

  • Richard Zinn

    From southern california, Bill will be missed. What a great guy who had a meaningful and positive impact on my life. My deepest condolences to his family.

  • Richard Parker

    I was at Princeton and in the Ivy Club with Bill, although we werne’t able to stay much in touch since those years i remember him well for his smile and intelligence and kindness to me. I send his family the most sincere condolences, and marvel at how suddenly we can be taken from those we love. What a reminder of how short life can be and how critical it is that we all live and love fully during what ever time we get to be here…
    Richard Parker

  • Amy Schoch

    Bill was a friend from high school days and reunions, and always such a kind and gracious man. I am so sorry he is gone and offer condolences to his family.

  • Dwight Poler

    The whole Camp Dudley family, of which Bill Sword (#9655) was a very special and longstanding member, sends its heartfelt prayers to the Sword family. Bill will be very much missed.

  • Fred

    He was the best

  • Sam Thacker

    When I was five years old, I decided to slip out the back gate of my friend’s house off of Witherspoon and walk home to Hamilton. I knew the way, but it would take me several miles down Quakerbridge Road and across Route 1 (back before there was a clover leaf). I was leaving Princeton when a stranger approached me and introduced himself as Bill. He had been passing by in his car and thought that I probably shouldn’t be trekking along unaccompanied. He asked me where I was going and, sensitive to the fact that I had been taught not to enter strangers’ cars, walked me to the nearby police station. My parents were called, I got home safely, and here I sit.

    I’ve never had anything more to do with Mr. Sword, but I think this anecdote hints at the type of decent human being that he was. My deepest condolences go out to the family.

  • peter krulewitch

    Bill sword was a friend and a better man never drew breath. Sad day and sympathies to his family

  • Marcia

    My heart goes out to Gretchen, Hope and Martha. Bill was a wonderful man.

  • Jill

    I am an old friend of Martha’s and my brother is a friend of Dicks and Bills. He spent many hours at their house growing up. A wonderful, loving, strong family. I was so sad to hear about this loss, for his family and Martha – just losing a husband myself I know it is not easy. God Bless the family as they move through this difficult time.

  • Tom Pyle

    This is too much. Such crushing news. How it hurts to lose such a fine man and friend. May God raise up the Sword family.

  • Joe S.

    My deepest deepest sympathies — Bill’s loss is a loss to us all — all my (our) thoughts and hopes for strength to the family — Bill was a wonderful family man, a man devoted to hard work, devoted to his community, and strong values. To a great man a true gentleman — rest in peace — and to his family our prayers!!

  • Elizabeth

    so sorry. He sounds like he was such a good man. 🙁 RIP Sir Sword & ♥ to his loved ones

  • I am friends with one of Bill’s daughters and spent a ton of time over their house. Bill was a great role model and father and will be missed by all that knew him.

  • Brian

    This is tremendously sad news. Bill was a great man – highly intelligent, thoughtful and a true gentleman. Our thoughts are with Martha and his family.

  • MamaJoJo

    May he rest in peace. Prayers to the family.

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