Lawrence R. Swanson (1936 - 2020)

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    - Sue Johnson
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    - Bill and Betty Calderwood
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Service Information
Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020
9:30 AM - 11:30 AM
Woodmen Valley Chapel-Stone Chapel
290 East Woodmen Road
Colorado Springs, CO
View Map

November 4, 1936 January 10, 2020
Lawrence R. Swanson, 83, passed away at his home in Colorado Springs on January 10, 2020, surrounded by his wife and children.
Larry was born November 4, 1936, in Omaha, Nebraska, to Philip and Mildred (Johnson) Swanson. A physicist and scientist, his career spanned college level teaching and aerospace engineering. He was known for his dry sense of humor and his love of pastel portrait drawing. Larry was an active member of the First Evangelical Free Church and then Woodmen Valley Chapel, both in Colorado Springs.
He attended Beals Elementary School in Omaha, and graduated from Central High School there in 1954. In 1959 he earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering at Iowa State College (now University) in Ames, Iowa, spending his junior year abroad at the American University of Beirut in Lebanon. He completed a Bachelor of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1963, traveling one summer to Ecuador to visit mission workers to indigenous people groups. After discovering a passion for teaching physics, he pursued graduate degrees in that field, earning an MS in Physics from California State University, Los Angeles, in 1966, and a PhD in Physics from the University of California, Irvine, in 1970.
In 1970 he began his teaching career at Pasadena College (now Point Loma College in San Diego) in California, and for the next ten years taught physics, math, and computer science courses there, at Greenville College in Illinois, Azusa Pacific College (now University) in California, and Sterling College in Kansas. In 1980 he and his family moved to Colorado Springs, where he began working as an electronics engineer, first at TRW and then at Contel. Later he held government contracting positions in satellite analysis with Textron and Autometric, and most recently held the position of Principal Research Scientist at Boeing until his retirement in 2006.
Larry liked to visit art galleries, read how-to art books, and watch caricature artists work at fairs. He took numerous community art classes in drawing and painting. For more than a decade he was a regular attendee at the open studio held at the Colorado Springs Senior Center and joined painting competitions with Victor Celebrates the Arts in Victor, Colorado. He cultivated raspberries and played the clarinet, once programming a computer to play a duet with him onstage before a live audience.
He enjoyed learning languages, and his studies of Hebrew and Greek enriched his semester in Beirut and subsequent visits to Israel. At one time he considered mission work in translation, and learned some Spanish before excursions in Ecuador and Mexico.
Larry is survived by his wife of fifty-seven years, Judith (Thoreen) Swanson of Colorado Springs; daughter, Heidi (John) Hartman of Shanghai, China; son, Erik (Rena) Swanson of Los Angeles, California; grandchildren, Hannah and Alexander Hartman of Shanghai, China; twin brother, Terence (Elizabeth) Swanson of Shoreview, Minnesota; and sister, Judith (Charles) Bergman of Gretna, Nebraska.
Visitation, 9:30AM-11:30AM, Saturday, January 25, 2020, Woodmen Valley Chapel-Stone Chapel, 290 East Woodmen Road, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80919.
Interment, Evergreen Cemetery, 1005 South Hancock Expressway, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903.
Memorial Service to be held in the summer of 2020 in Colorado Springs.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in Larry's memory may be made to the scholarship fund of the Pikes Peak Watercolor Society, to Compassus Hospice and Palliative Care, or to Woodmen Valley Chapel Youth Mission Trips.

Published in The Gazette on Jan. 19, 2020
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