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Kyle Daniel Swanson

1965 - 2009
Kyle Daniel Swanson Obituary

After a courageous two-year battle with oral cancer, Kyle Daniel Swanson passed away peacefully at his home in Thousand Oaks on April 29, 2009.

Kyle was born June 26, 1965 in Bellefonte, PA then moved to La Crescenta, CA with his family in 1975. He graduated from Crescenta Valley High School in 1983 and went on to earn a BS degree in Aerospace Engineering from San Diego State University in 1989.

From an early age, Kyle's love of engineering design and creativity was evident. He spent many hours building and soaring radio-controlled gliders. These talents carried into his adult life, with spare time spent collecting and restoring a number of Lotus sports and racing cars and road racing with the Sports Car Club of America. Ocean sailing with his parents nurtured his free-spirit. He expressed himself musically, playing jazz trombone and serving as Drum Major during high school. Music continued to play a role in his life during college and culminated with his contributions to the "Don't Make Noise" CD recorded with the San Diego State Jazz Ensemble. During college Kyle began working with a small engineering company which contributed research in advanced aerodynamics for the Saint Francis Yacht Club entry in the 1987 America's Cup Race in Australia.

Kyle landed his dream job with Aerovironment Inc. in June 1989. He played a pivotal role in the design and manufacture of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) leading to AeroVironment's dominance in small UAS for the United States Department of Defense. In 2005, he was awarded the Al Aube Outstanding Contributor Award from the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) in recognition of his dedication to the advancement of Unmanned Aircraft Systems. After a 13 year relationship Kyle and his girlfriend were married in 2003. His greatest joy came from the birth of his two children.

He was a loving husband with a gentle soul. Kyle always embraced life's adventures and encouraged his friends to cherish the journey as much as the destination. Kyle is survived by his wife Tamara Thornsley; their children: Fiona and Alex; his parents: Sandra and Paul Swanson; his brother, Brian Swanson; nephew Terran and niece Jade. Kyle was preceded in death by his brother Kris Swanson. Memorial services celebrating Kyle's life will be held at 10:30am on May 7th at Ascension Lutheran Church at 1600 E. Hillcrest in Thousands Oaks. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Kyle's name to the Oral Cancer Foundation (

Published in Ventura County Star from May 3 to May 6, 2009
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