Jacksonville, NC – Roland C. Swensen, beloved husband, father, grandfather, and friend died at home on November 9th, 2018 having succumbed to ALS, which he bravely battled for the past year.
He was the absolute heart and joy of his family, which includes Kim, his wife of 42 years, their daughter, Stacy and her fiancée, Wesley; their son, Brian and daughter-in-law, Jennifer, along with their children, Lily and Ava; and their son, Scott and daughter-in-law, Sherise, who will be welcoming their first child, Roland’s third grandchild, and first grandson, in March.
Roland was also blessed to have the love and support of his brother, Dale and sister-in-law, Judy; his sister, Tawna and brother-in-law, Ross; his sister, Kathy and brother-in-law, Ricardo; his sister-in-law, Marcy and brother-in-law, Brian, his mother-in-law, Arietta and father-in-law, George, as well as that of numerous nieces and nephews.
Roland was preceded in death only months earlier, by his beloved parents, Leah and LaMar Swensen, who raised a caring, loving, inquisitive, hard-working young man who went from helping his dad and brother work the family farm to joining the finest fighting force in the land- the United States Marine Corps.
Roland embodied the Marine Corps values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. He served his nation honorably from December 1972 to November 2002, going from a Private to Lieutenant Colonel. He went through the ranks, having been selected for Warrant Officer in 1976, while a Sergeant stationed in Yuma, AZ. As a CWO2, he went through the Limited Duty Officer program and, as a Captain, he went unrestricted.
Roland always believed in the “needs of the Marine Corps” and lived by the Marine Corps Motto, “Semper Fi”. And, as a leader of Marines, and a truly modest man, he gave credit to those around him, and endeavored to instill in junior Marines the notion that with hard work, and by living the Corps values, they, too, could have the satisfaction of a job well-done and a career of honorable, faithful service.
Roland exemplified the qualities of goodness, kindness, love, patience, and honor. He had an unfailing belief in the goodness of others and was always ready to lend a hand to anyone in need.
Roland loved the outdoors, and especially enjoyed hiking, camping, running mud runs and 5K’s, many of which he medaled in, including the “old man” division in later years! One of his favorite activities was roasting hot dogs and hamburgers with his family, especially while at the beach.
Roland always ensured he was a “hands-on” dad, making time for his family no matter how busy his day. Stacy, Brian and Scott grew up knowing their dad loved them and knowing they have so many wonderful memories of him. Their dad ensured they played at the park, beaches, and other outdoor venues, that they ran obstacle courses and runs with him (Stacy, Brian, and Scott also ran the Spartan run with him), that they climbed hills and mountains (Stacy and Brian climbed Mt. Fuji with him while Kim stayed home with Scott, who was too young to go). He played board games, read books, and helped with homework.
While stationed in Okinawa, Roland and Kim would often swim at the beaches with Stacy, Brian and Scott, play at the numerous parks, explore caves, and always, always, have fun. So many adventures and memories have been made.
When Stacy, Brian and Scott were little, he’d half teasingly tell them to stop growing, as he knew time was passing too quickly and the day they’d leave home would too quickly arrive. He proudly watched Stacy, Brian and Scott excel in school and become upstanding, hard-working, kind individuals making their own way in life. They are their father’s legacy, his love, and his joy.
Roland delighted in his grandchildren, Lily, soon to be six, and Ava, who just turned three. He adored the time he spent playing with them, reading to them, pushing them on swings, helping them climb, and going down the slides. He was immensely proud of them, as he was of his children. He also eagerly awaited the birth of his grandson and would have so enjoyed time spent with him, as well. There’s no doubt that this proud, loving Grandpa is watching his family with pride and happiness from his place in Heaven.
Roland and Kim were blessed to have shared over 40 years of togetherness, love, friendship, and dedication to family. Roland’s love of family, his devotion to them, and his goodness will live on in his children and grandchildren and will remain a blessing to all who were privileged to know this remarkable man.
We love and miss this heaven-sent angel and know he will keep watch over us until we can once again be together.
A funeral service will be held at Jones Funeral Home in Jacksonville at 11:00AM on Saturday, December 8th, 2018.