Philippe SL Swaab
Jun 10, 1920 – May 10, 2015
Philippe Simon Leopold Swaab (94) passed away peacefully the morning of May 10, 2015, concluding a remarkable life epitomized by courage, perseverance and commitment to his beloved family.
Known to friends as “Phil” or “Pim”, he was born in Lombok, Indonesia on June 10, 1920. At the age of 17 he moved to Holland in an effort to further his education. When Germany invaded Rotterdam, Holland, during World War II in 1940, Phil was taken prisoner and held captive for over 4 and a half years in multiple German concentration camps. The majority of this period was spent at the Mauthausen camp in Austria, where inmates were treated to barbaric conditions and forced to carry heavy stone blocks up the notorious “Stairway to Death.”
Phil endured to the camp’s liberation on May 5, 1945, and returned to Amsterdam to restart his life. It was there that he met Johanna Willemina, with whom he would marry and together raise 8 children. In 1947 Phil and Johanna moved to Djakarta, Indonesia, where he became a prominent import/export shipping executive. Because of turmoil in Indonesia, the family moved back to Holland in April 1958. Rejecting several job offers that would have required him to travel abroad and leave his family in Holland, Phil instead set his sights on moving to the United States in search of a better life for his family.
Lake Burien Presbyterian Church sponsored the emigration of the Swaab family to Seattle in November 1959. Phil returned to the import/export trade, working for Balfour, Guthrie & Co. Shipping Merchants until his retirement in 1977. All 8 of the children graduated from Highline High School and many remain in the area today. Following his retirement, Phil and Johanna enjoyed traveling back and forth to Holland to see extended family and friends. They cherished time spent with their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Phil was preceded in his passing by his wife Johanna in 2006 and son Oppie in 2009. He is survived by children Marianne (Walt), Berney, Stella (Del), Philippe (Cindi), Peter (Kristy), Benjamin (Ana) and Dick (Shelley); grandchildren Philippe, Benjamin (Rebecca), Delton (Angie), Sabrina (Sean), Stephanie, Marianna (Darab), Jason (Danielle), Amanda, Ryan, Alexander, Mikey, Peter, Nicolas, Brandon, Peter Paul, and Jason; and great-grandchildren Gabriel, Ellie, Delton, Elijah, Willemina, Zachary, Lily, Alivia, Leopold, Alexa, Tessa and Esther.
The Swaab family would like to extend their gratitude to the staff at Judson Park senior living and hospice. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Highline Medical Center Foundation in memory of Philippe S.L. Swaab.
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