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Jerome Swalen


1928 - 2014 | Obituary Condolences
Jerome Swalen Obituary
Jerome Douglas Swalen March 4, 1928 - March 26, 2014 Resident of Los Gatos Cherished husband of Mary and loving father of Douglas, of Los Gatos, and Diana, of Lincoln, Jerry Swalen passed on serenely at home on March 26, with his wife of 62 years at his side. Born in Minneapolis, in 1928, he was the only child of Clarence Jalmar and Mattie Knutson Swalen of Edina, Minnesota. He graduated from Washburn High School in 1946 and from the University of Minnesota in 1950 with high distinction. He was a member of SAE social fraternity and Phi Beta Kappa. Jerry served in the US Navy aboard the USS President Jackson during the Korean War and was involved in the Battle of Inchon for which he received the UN Medal. On March 7, 1952, he and Mary were married in the Navy Chapel on Treasure Island in San Francisco Bay. Jerry taught physics and chemistry at the Naval Academy Prep School in Bainbridge, MD. After the service, he received a fellowship to Harvard University and earned his Masters and then PhD in Chemical Physics in 1958. Subsequently, he pursued a post-doctoral fellowship at the National Research Council in Ottawa, Canada. He worked in research for Shell Development in California for 5 years and then became Manager of Research at IBM, San Jose. During his 31 year career at IBM, he was a pioneer in the fields of molecular spectroscopy, lasers and thin films and received many awards for his work. Jerry was the author of many scientific publications and author/editor of a number of books and was recognized internationally. He collaborated with colleagues abroad, teaching and living for periods of time in Switzerland, Germany, France, England, Australia, Japan and China. He was a member of several scientific societies, including the American Chemical Society, the Optical Society of America and was made a Fellow of the American Physical Society. After retirement he established a consulting firm and also enjoyed positions at Stanford University and as Emeritus Professor at UC Santa Cruz. He enjoyed golf, skiing and opera as well as travel and fine food and wine. Jerry and Mary lived in Los Gatos for 47 years and were members of St. Andrews Episcopal Church. Jerry was a unique combination of intellectual brilliance and unassuming simplicity, who never forgot to "stop and smell the roses." Services will be held at 1PM, Sunday, April 27, 2014 at St. Andrews Episcopal Church, Saratoga. Donations in his memory would be gratefully received by Merola Opera Program, 301 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94102.
Published in San Jose Mercury News on Apr. 6, 2014
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