David Swanson ’63

25 January 2016

Class: 1963

Major: Biology

Residence: Landrum, SC

Deceased: January 13, 2016

An obituary from the Houston Chronicle 

Dr. David Allen Swanson passed away Wednesday, January 13, 2016 from pulmonary complications of sarcoidosis. Dr. Swanson, born Sept. 29, 1941 in Chicago, earned degrees from Carleton College and the Univ. of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, and served in the U.S. Army Medical Corps from ‘69-71. He is best known for an illustrious 39-year career in urologic oncology at the Univ. of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Beginning with a two-year fellowship in urologic oncology, Dr. Swanson advanced from Assistant Professor to Professor to Deputy Chairman (13 years) and, ultimately, Chairman (8.5 years) of the Dept. of Urology.  

He would be hard-pressed to choose which part of his job he loved more: surgery, teaching and mentoring, or counseling patients about treatment options. He also served on the Board of the Kidney Cancer Association for over 15 years. Though he officially “retired” in August 2005, it came as no surprise that he couldn’t quit MDACC cold turkey. He continued to support the department part-time, partnering to rebuild the prostate brachytherapy program. His proudest career achievement was his Faculty Achievement Award in Patient Care, awarded by his peers in ‘95. He published over 200 scientific papers and book chapters and delivered more than 400 presentations, nationally and internationally.  

His career took him around the world, visiting 38 countries for both business and pleasure. He was an avid traveler, foodie and oenophile, and he relished introducing friends and family to great restaurants and fine wines (particularly his cherished Rombauer Chardonnay). An enthusiastic sports fan, he held season tickets for every Houston sports team, reveling in the wins and mourning the losses with his son, Erik. In retirement he found poker, arguably his only hobby, spurring frequent father-son trips to Vegas to hit the tables and visit his favorite restaurants. A creature of habit, he lived for moments like these – good food, good wine, good friends and family – just as much as he lived for his patients, his colleagues, and his work in urologic oncology.  

Dr. Swanson, David, Dad, Doc – you made a difference in more lives than you’ll ever know, and your legacy lives on. Dr. Swanson is survived by his wife, Carene; son, Erik and daughter-in-law, Melanee; and his sister, Barbara Swanson Roos. A celebration of his life and career will be held at MDACC in February. In lieu of usual remembrances, please consider donations to the Kidney Cancer Association (KidneyCancer.org) or the MDACC Dept. of Urology.

Posted In