Clifford Swenson Dec. 30, 1915 - Jan. 23, 2009 Cliff was known as a builder. He had the expertise and tenacity to build a hospital, a school or a factory. He also possessed the ability to build a family and a legacy. Most who knew him recall a man who could put the essence of an idea into a sketch on a napkin and then efficiently see that concept through to a completed structure. From the smallest idea he could created something larger than life that would endure not only his lifetime, but the lifetimes of generations to come. Though born to Swedish immigrants, Anna and Carl N. Swenson, he had the Santa Clara Valley in his blood. He spent his childhood years on a farm in Turlock and then moved to San Jose when his father was awarded the contract to build the DeAnza Hotel where he cut his teeth in the construction industry as a water boy. He attended San Jose State and studied Engineering and Economics and worked his way through the ranks of Carl N. Swenson Company until he retired as President in 1983. As a young man, he caught the eye of Betty Barron at a dance in Yosemite. They fell in love and have been dancing together for over 70 years. They have shared love, laughter and memories with their 3 sons and have been loving and generous grandparents and great-grandparents. To his family, he was the builder of a legacy that we are all proud to share. He was the grandfather who never missed a recital or game and always insisted on the triple scoop during frequent visits to the ice cream shop. His grandchildren all got early schooling in construction while sitting on his lap behind the wheel of a fin tail Cadillac and touring job sites. He was a man's man who shared hunting adventures, gin rummy tournaments and good times with his friends from the Sainte Claire Club, Congress Springs and Rotary Club. He gave much more than just philanthropy, he gave opportunity. He opened doors for bright young entrepreneurs by serving as an angel investor in companies that produced everything from software to solar power to brownies. He contributed both time and financial support to numerous organizations including the YMCA and The Boy Scouts of America. He was larger than life figure who will be missed by so many people whose lives he has influenced. We will all be reminded of his legacy as we drive down the streets of Santa Clara County and see a glint from a window on a building he built. Look again, it's Cliff winking at all of us from above. Cliff is survived by his wife, Betty Swenson, his 3 sons, Barry, Ron and Darryl, his daughters-in-law/companions, Molly Swenson, Gail Fleming and Carol Merrifield, his grandchildren and their spouses, Brendan Swenson, Tamara and Jeff Current, Becky and Martin Menne, Case and Lisa Swenson and 5 great-grandchildren, Hunter Current, Hannah Current, Kate Menne, Mallory Menne and Bridget Menne. A Memorial Service will be held Tuesday, February 3, 2009 at 4:00pm at the San Jose Country Club 15571 Alum Rock Ave. San Jose, Ca. with a reception immediately following. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Camp Campbell YMCA of Silicon Valley 1922 The Alameda, 3rd Floor San Jose, Ca. 95126. Local Arrgs. By DARLING-FISCHER GARDEN CHAPEL, San Jose.
Published in San Jose Mercury News on Jan. 29, 2009.