View Full Version : A proud Marine with `a million-watt smile

09-27-05, 06:11 AM
A proud Marine with `a million-watt smile;' hundreds mourn Kirkland 24-year-old
by Lori Varosh
Journal Reporter

Marine Lance Cpl. Shane Clanin Swanberg was strong, fun-loving and, most of all, loyal, those who knew him said Monday.

The 24-year-old Kirkland man died in a rocket attack in Ramadi on Sept. 15, less than two weeks after he was deployed to Iraq.

Hundreds of mourners filed into Northshore Baptist Church in Bothell Monday morning to remember the 2000 Juanita High School graduate who had become a responsible man yet still wasn't so far from being his parents' little boy.

Family, friends, police officers, firefighters and members of the armed forces began the service by watching silently as six Marine pallbearers carried Swanberg's flag-draped coffin and listening, tearfully, to the national anthem, harp music and Swanberg's favorite hymns.

``Shane was a man who loved life,'' said Jim Fowler, one of Swanberg's youth pastors who had met him on a mission to Mexico.

Swanberg was also ``goofy'' and ``hilarious, sometimes when he didn't mean to be,'' Fowler said. ``He was a tremendous joy to be around.''

Others described a man with ``a million-watt smile,'' who talked in his sleep, loved the beach and was very proud of being a Marine.

``Shane was a diamond and a peacock,'' his dad, Brian, a retired police officer, said during the memorial service. ``I loved him deeply. I respected him. ... He grew up to be one of the finest young men and Marines I've ever met in my life.''

``He was my first-born, my treasure,'' said his mother, Linda, a Redmond Fire Department employee. ``He was on his road to great, great things.''

The attacks on the World Trade Center had moved Swanberg and prompted him to join the Marine Corps in 2002, Fowler said.

He went through basic training in San Diego and graduated from Camp Pendleton, trained to operate TOW missile launchers, Humvees and turret-mounted M60 machine guns. He was stationed at Twentynine Palms, before heading to Iraq on Sept. 5.

He looked forward to ending his term of service in October 2006. He anticipated building on the friendships he made in the Finn Hill neighborhood of Kirkland, going into the real estate business and living on a beach, his family wrote in the program for his memorial service.

``His future was full of promise,'' they wrote.

The word that would best describe Swanberg is ``loyal,'' said Fowler, adding he was loyal to his family, to his friends and to his God.

``He was loyal to his country to the point he ended up paying the ultimate price,'' Fowler said.

Northshore Pastor Steve Michiels painted a picture of a man ``with a million-watt smile,'' whose strength of purpose enabled him to face a level of danger that would ultimately kill him.

The example of fellow Marines helped Swanberg's faith grow stronger, said Michiels, who commended one hero who lost his life into the care of a second hero, Jesus, ``who gives eternal life.''

``Give the hero who lived Semper Fi to the hero who is Semper Fi,'' said Michiels, referring to an abbreviation of the Marine motto, Semper Fidelis, ``Always Faithful.''

Swanberg was buried at Tahoma National Cemetery in Maple Valley Monday afternoon.

Besides his mother and father, Swanberg is survived by his 21-year-old brother Travis, 18-year-old sister Nicole, and many other family members and close friends.

Lori Varosh can be reached at lori.varosh@kingcountyjournal.com or 425-453-4234.