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Robert Jon Swanson

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Robert Jon Swanson Obituary
Robert Jon Swanson, MD, FACS

Passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family, on December 7, 2013, escaping from the rare, enigmatic disease, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.


Robert was born to Robert and Irene Swanson November 1, 1942 in New York City and raised in Huntington Bay, Long Island and New York City. He graduated from Wooster Academy, followed by Johns Hopkins University, where he swam and played lacrosse for the school and was president of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He attended New York University after graduation and received his M.D. from the University of Miami in 1969. He came to San Francisco to serve a one-year surgery internship at SF General, and stayed to serve his surgery residency, his vascular surgery residency, research year, and vascular surgery fellowship at University of California San Francisco.


Dr. Swanson practiced Vascular Surgery at Alta Bates Medical Center, Berkeley, and served as Chairman, Department of Surgery, Alta Bates Hospital, and Chairman of the Hospital's Quality Assurance Committee. He was a Council member of the Northern California Vascular Society, trustee of Alta Bates-Herrick Hospital and Alta Bates Health System, Medical Director of Alta Bates Vascular Center, president and board chairman of Alta Bates Medical Group, director of East Bay Medical Network and Bay Physicians Medical Group, trustee of California Healthcare System and the Physician-Management Council of the California Healthcare System. He served as Chairman of the Quality Review Committee of the Board of Directors of Sutter Health and was Associate Clinical Professor of Surgery, University of California San Francisco. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors of the East Bay Medical Network, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Northern California Vascular Society, East Bay Surgical Society, San Francisco Surgical Society, Society for Vascular Surgery, and others. He wrote and published textbook chapters as well as multiple peer-reviewed papers in the medical literature.


In 1997, he co-founded The MRI Centers of New England, a network of MRI imaging facilities in MA and RI. He retired from his surgical practice in 2003, trained to become a specialist in skin rejuvenation and founded NewSkin Clinic in Marin County.


Robert was a lifelong sailor. As a youth, he sailed Stars with his father for the New York Yacht Club and the Huntington Yacht Club. Their Huckins served as their commuter to NYC and as tender to America's Cup defenders in Newport RI, where Robert enjoyed his summers. In the Bay Area, he was a member of St. Francis Yacht Club and San Francisco Yacht Club and Tiburon Peninsula Club, where he swam daily. Summers, he took his beloved Hinckley, High Tide, to Tinsley Island with his family on board, and raced his Lasers there and in Tiburon, off the beach at his home. He kept a sport fishing boat, Jewel, in Connecticut, and regularly cruised New England and environs, staying for many enjoyable weekends with his family at Harbourcourt in Newport. He founded the Marin Wine Society and was a wine enthusiast. He was fond of traveling in Tuscany and through the Loire and Burgundy regions. He was an avid black diamond and heli-skier. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of history. He told a great joke and filled a room with his laughter.


An Eight Bells Ceremony will take place at St. Francis Yacht Club at a future date. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in his name to Hospice by the Bay, 17 East Sir Francis Drake Blvd, Larkspur 94939.


Robert is survived by his wife, Sandra, daughters Cristina and Jensen, son-in-law Eric DeWees, brothers Gary and Jon, and father, Robert.


Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Dec. 10, 2013
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