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Robert James Swanberg

April 29, 1946 ~ January 4, 2022 (age 75)


Robert J. (Bob) Swanberg, 75, died from complications from Parkinson’s while at his home in the West Hills, on Tuesday, January 4, 2022 with family by his side.  Bob was born in Portland, Ore. on April 29, 1946 to Walter and Theresa Swanberg.  He graduated from Central Catholic High School in 1964, earned a Bachelor’s degree in Science from Portland State University in 1968 and then his Doctor of Dental Medicine Degree from the University of Oregon School of Dentistry in 1972.  While at dental school, Bob became reacquainted with Kathleen Barrett who was working there.  The two had attended elementary school together at St. Charles Elementary School and Kathy remembered him right away.  Bob loved Kathy with all his heart, and they were married on September 11, 1971 in a ceremony officiated by Hodge (Roger) Sinnott, a grade school and high school friend.

Dr. Swanberg entered the U.S. Naval Reserves in July of 1971.  He soon became a lieutenant in the Navy, which meant a move for the couple to Coronado, California.  The couple later returned to Portland and purchased a home in the Alameda neighborhood where they started their family.  In 1978, Dr. Swanberg worked for Willamette Dental Group and later went into dental practice with Dr. Norman Matschek at the Adventist Professional Building near Mall 205.  With Dr. Swanberg’s determination, he eventually started his own dental practice.  He loved his patients, staff and profession.  His patients and staff admired and reciprocated their love for him.  With his reputation, kindness and hard work, the practice was successful.

In the fall of 1989, Bob was diagnosed with a fast-growing leukemia and needed a bone marrow transplant.  By the grace of God, Bob’s sister was a perfect match.  The transplant was a success but did bring along health complications, which Bob carried with him throughout life.  Kathy was by his side every step of the way.  Bob was fortunate to have survived and didn’t take those added years for granted.  He was ecstatic to have the opportunity to see his children graduate from college, get married and have children of their own.  Those were some of his very best times.

At age 62, Dr. Swanberg retired to spend time with his wife and grandchildren and to continue his favorite sport, golf.  He liked being outside and treasured the time and company of his golf buddies.  He also enjoyed barbecuing, fishing, traveling with Kathy, and working as a consultant at ODS.

In more recent years, Bob received the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease and as symptoms started to manifest themselves, Bob met each one with determination to make each day the best he could.  He had never been one to complain, but only worked hard to make the best of the situation.  But Parkinson’s got the best of him and he died due to its complications on January 4, 2022.  Bob was a devoted husband to Kathy, and his son Chris and daughter Erika meant the world to him.  His family cherished him, and none will be the same without him.  

Those fortunate to have met Bob, know what a very rare and amazing person he was.  He was intelligent, humble, kind, and generous and had a quick sense of humor.  He was a teacher, mentor and coach.  He sponsored many individuals and teams, coached his daughter’s soccer team and volunteered many dental hours to the Portland community.  Relatives were always proud to say they were related to Bob.  Friends and vendors felt fortunate to have a relationship, and patients told us with pride that he was “their” dentist.

Bob was preceded in death by his father Walter F. Swanberg, Jr.  He is survived by his loving wife of 50 years, Kathleen A. (Barrett) Swanberg; son Christopher Swanberg, daughter Erika and son-in-law Troy Doud of Hayden, Idaho; mother Theresa Swanberg, sister Sharon Swanberg and Aunt Joan Clark from Pocatello, Idaho; and grandchildren Nathan and Katelyn Doud and Alexander and Sadie Swanberg.   Other survivors include cousins Jim Swanberg, Ryan Swanberg, Dennis Swanberg, Brittany Fanning, Susan Trapold, Robert E. (Rob) Swanberg, Janet Swanberg, Karen Zimel of Sheridan, Ore. Michelle Scott of Cary, NC and nephew Jamie Weathers.

A private family service is to be held at Willamette National Cemetery.  Family friend, Hodge Sinnott, will officiate.  Details for the service have been prepared by Riverview Abbey.

Donations may be made to Fred Hutch for Cancer Research.




















































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