Cover photo for Robert Martin Swanson's Obituary
Robert Martin Swanson Profile Photo
1927 Robert 2022

Robert Martin Swanson

December 19, 1927 — December 2, 2022


Robert (Bob) Martin Swanson, of Duluth, Minnesota passed away peacefully at age 94 on Friday, December 2, 2022, at his home overlooking Schultz Lake.  

Bob was born on December 19, 1927, in Duluth, Minnesota to Arthur Benjamin Swanson and Esther Marguerite Swanson (nee Larsen).  Growing up in Duluth, he attended Cobb Elementary, East Junior High, and Central High Schools; and was a National Honor Society member.  He caddied at Ridgeview Country Club, ski jumped at Chester Bowl, and played clarinet in the Duluth Junior Symphony Orchestra.

As a young man, he attended Duluth Junior College, served in the US Army, earned a mechanical engineering degree at Michigan Technological University, and worked as an engineer for Minnesota Power & Light Company.

On February 23, 1952, he married Joan Deborah Wahl of Duluth, and they enjoyed 70 years together, raising a lively family of six children.  They had homes in Duluth, Minnesota, and enjoyed getaways with the children to favorite destinations including Kaanapali Beach, Maui, HI, and Delray Beach, Florida.  

Throughout his life, Bob loved bird hunting, golfing, and fishing.  He could build a roaring fire that was perfect for gatherings and telling stories of his outdoor adventures.

As co-owner of Wahl’s Department Store, Bob was an active member of Duluth business circles throughout the 1960s and 1970s.  Notable associations included Rotary Club, Northland Country Club, and Duluth Congregational Church.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Esther Swanson, and his brother Arthur Benjamin Swanson, Jr.

Bob is survived by his loving wife, Joan Swanson of Duluth, Minnesota; children Ingeborg (Leonard) Overby of San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, David (Kate) Swanson of Mendota Heights, MN, Brian Swanson of Denver, CO, Mark (Michele) Swanson of Celebration, FL, James (Lynne) Swanson of Edina, MN, and Barbara (Matt) Boo of Duluth, MN; 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

A private memorial gathering will be held for immediate family members.  Robert’s family would like to thank the Gnesen Volunteer Fire Department and Emergency Response Service for their kindness and compassion last week and over the years.

In honor of Robert’s life, memorials may be directed to:

 Gnesen Volunteer Fire Department - 4505 Datka Road, Duluth, MN 55803

To send flowers to the family in memory of Robert Martin Swanson, please visit our flower store.


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