Roger, Over and Out

City Pages writer, St. Paul developer, and helpless lover of life Roger Swardson dies at 69

Finally, a couple of years ago, Swardson moved to Phoenix, to live near his son Charlie. That's where he died. Rachel arranged for her father's brain to be donated to Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore as part of a research project into the causes and effects of amyloid angiopathy. He undoubtedly would have been both flattered and fascinated.

"The thing I'll always remember best about Roger," says Steve Perry, "is his absolutely indomitable spirit. You have to remember that he was thrown back into subsistence-level, hand-to-mouth living at a relatively advanced age, at a time when most people of his accomplishments are downshifting toward retirement and a life of leisure. He kept on going without missing a beat, and did some of the very best work of his life in the last 10 years of it.

"Where did he find that kind of strength? I think it came from his curiosity toward everything he approached. That's what kept him younger and more alive than most people half his age."

Roger Swardson, 1934-2003
Courtesy of Rachel Swardson
Roger Swardson, 1934-2003

 

Roger Swardson's memorial service will be on Sunday, December 14 at 1:00 p.m. It will take place at St. Clement's Episcopal Church, 901 Portland Ave., St. Paul. A reception will follow at Summit Manor, 275 Summit Ave.

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