Feb. 14, 1934 - June 8, 2012
Dr. David Leonard Swanson Jr., a retired U.S. Army colonel, 78, died June 8, 2012, at Regency at the Park. David was born in Long Beach, Calif., on Feb. 14, 1934, to David Leonard Sr. and Mildred (Clark) Swanson.
During his childhood, David lived with his family in California and Washington and graduated as class valedictorian from Newport Harbor High School in Newport Beach, Calif. He graduated from University of California, Berkeley, in 1955 where he was a member of the Theta Chi fraternity. In 1959, he graduated from the University of California, San Francisco, School of Medicine as a member of the honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha, and a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army. He married Catherine Percy in Fillmore, Calif., on Aug. 13, 1955.
David spent more than 20 years as a physician in the U.S. Army living with his family in Hawaii, New Jersey, Texas, California, North Carolina, South Korea, Germany and Belgium. He spent a year in Vietnam commanding evacuation hospitals in Da Nang and Pleiku and short tours of duty in Thailand, Denmark and Greece. During his varied military career, he commanded several base dispensaries including the NATO dispensary in Brussels, Belgium, obtained a master's degree in hospital administration, started or rescued family practice residency programs, and finished as deputy commander and chief of professional services.
After retiring as a colonel, David took over a family practice residency program in Fayetteville, N.C., that was affiliated with Duke University and finished his medical career in Southern California treating patients at an urgent care center and an HMO. Health issues forced him to retire and he and Catherine moved to Fillmore, Calif., in 1997 and to Walla Walla in 2003 to be near family. David enjoyed listening to opera, watching movies, taking photographs, flying small planes, driving fine German automobiles, playing cards, golfing and traveling.
David was preceded in death by his parents; and in 2004 by his wife, Catherine. He is survived by his beloved one-eyed Abyssinian cat, Olivia; sister, Diane Hale of Tustin, Calif.; three daughters, Sarah (Jim) Michelson of Walla Walla, Rebecca (Charles) Lyons of Mountain Home, Idaho, and Ruth Swanson of Washington, D.C.; and four grandchildren, Isabeau and Annika Michelson and Henry and Alice Lyons. A special
thank you to Dr. Matthew Stroemel for having a soft place in his heart for an "old army doc."