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In Memory

Richard Swanson

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08/20/12 04:29 PM #1    

Kevin Carroll

I was shocked and saddened to see Rick's name on the "In Memory" list.  He and I were on the MCHS swim team together for four years, and served together as co-captains during our senior year.  He had one of the smoothest backstroke styles I've ever seen. He seemed to glide through the water almost effortlessly, but he was deceptively fast.  He was easily the best swimmer on the team as a senior, and probably one of the Class of 72's best natural athletes overall.  I'm sure that the MCHS team and pool records that he set (or helped set)  -- the 100 backstroke and the 200 medley relay, at a minimum -- stood for many years after he graduated.

Moreover, he was a fun, smart, humble guy, and a good friend.  When he was a junior he had a steady girlfriend from Crystal Lake whose family was hosting a foreign exchange student from Bolivia. He tried for many weeks to get me to agree to a blind date with her, so that he and his girlfriend could double-date with us.  I resisted, in part because of ignorant preconceived notions about what a girl from South America would be like, but eventually Rick's good-natured pestering wore me down and I grudgingly agreed to an initial "no obligation, trial basis" blind date.  I'll never forget the impish look on his face when he introduced me to this mysterious Bolivian a few days later -- a slim, leggy, beautiful 5'7" green-eyed girl with waist-length blonde hair, whose grandparents had emigrated from Germany to Bolivia in the 1940's.   We ended up double-dating almost every weekend until she (Tila Beyer was her name) returned to Bolivia a few months later...after which Rick would frequently remind me of the opportunity that I had almost missed by waiting so long to take his advice! From that point forward I happily did pretty much whatever he suggested.

I was curious about what ultimately happened to this great MCHS classmate, so I tracked down an on-line obituary.  I have included it below for the benefit others who (like me) knew and liked Rick but lost contact with him (and so many others) after graduation.  I've also posted a photo of the two of us that documents the keen fashion sense for which we were both justifiably renowned.

RIP, Rick. I hope you've found smoother waters.

Your friend,

Kevin Carroll



Birth:  Nov. 6, 1954
Death:  Feb. 8, 2006

Richard Robert "Rick" Swanson, 51, of West Chicago, died Wednesday, February 8, 2006, of complications from diabetes. He was the son of Kenneth A. and Martha "Marti" (Baldwin) Swanson of Ringwood, formerly of McHenry.
He was a graduate of McHenry West High School in 1972 and of Western Illinois University in 1976. He was on the swimming team at both; he represented MCHS at the state swimming finals and WIU at national championships all four years. He was a CPA for Weber and Associates of Aurora.
He enjoyed participating in his children's lives including coaching and attending their sporting events. His hobbies included doing woodworking, taking on large home renovation projects, and using the latest computer-related technological products.
He was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Francis M. and Irville (Miller) Baldwin; and his paternal grandfather, Adolph E. Swanson.
Survivors include his children, Jacob and Samantha Swanson of Lemont; his parents; his paternal grandmother, Estelle (Walensa) Swanson; his brother, Gary (Val) Swanson of Wheaton; his sister, Laurie (Rick) Bender of Crystal Lake; his nieces, Sara (Brian) Flanigan of Crystal Lake and Darcie Bender of New York City; his grand-nephew, Kendrick J. Flanigan of Crystal Lake; and his former wife, Marianne (O'Connor) Melvin, whom he married on July 11, 1981 in Lemont.
Visitation will be Sunday, February 12, 2006 from 1 to 5 PM at the Colonial Funeral Home, 591 Ridgeview Dr., McHenry. Funeral services will be Monday, February 13th, at noon at the funeral home, with burial at Ringwood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations to the American Diabetes Association would be appreciated. Info (815)385-0063.
Ringwood Cemetery
McHenry County
Illinois, USA
Maintained by: Kate Keller
Originally Created by: James Seidelman
Record added: Feb 12, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 13327575

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