Philippe SL Swaab

Jun 10, 1920 – May 10, 2015

Philippe SL Swaab obituary image 1



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.


Bruno Hoolboom
BURIEN, Washington
Jun 11, 2015

On behalf of the entire Hoolboom family, please accept our condolences on the passing of dear 'Oom Pim'. He was a kind and sincere man who was such a big part of our lives growing up. The summer camping trips, boating, and Dutch get-togethers with Oom Pim and the Swaab family bring the fondest life-long memories. Oom Pim, you lived a full and wonderful life. We will miss you.

Bruno Hoolboom on behalf of the Hoolboom Family

Diane & Steve Jones
GILBERT, Arizona
May 22, 2015

He was a wonderful man. Our prayers are with all the family to help them through this sad time.

Warren Oas
Auburn, Wa
May 19, 2015

My condolences to your family.You may not remember me but I do remember when your family came here in 1959.My father and mother (Richard & Geraldine Oas knew your parents well.

Peace be with you,Warren

Raalte , NL
May 18, 2015

We will never forget you....always in our heart. Proud to have such a great uncle. . Love you.

Ellen, Jos, Liane, Jason and Melanie

James P. Crowley
Normandy Park, Washington
May 17, 2015

We enjoyed getting to know Phil at Judson Park. He was a very nice man, he had a very interesting past and he was fun to talk with at meal times. We will surely miss him!

Janie Smith and Jim Crowley

Earl & Judith Fulmer
Auburn, WA
May 17, 2015

It was a wonderful write-up in the Seattle Times for a wonderful man. It was such a pleasure knowing Philippe if only briefly in February-March 2015. Our condolences to the entire Swaab family.

King & Toni Lysen
Burien, WA
May 17, 2015

We extend our deepest sympathies to our friends Marianne & Walt and to all the Swaab family. We remember your father and grandfather as a consummate gentleman who had immense courage and inner strength to have survived his incarceration by the Nazis and who loved and enjoyed his family. May you find peace in his passing by remembering his life well-lived, happy memories and knowing you gave him loving care.

Brandon Swaab
Normandy Park, WA
May 15, 2015

I love Opa! Thank you for all the wonderful times together and being the best grandfather I could ever ask for. The things that you have been through in your life serve as motivation and strength for me to persevere through challenges in my life. You will forever be in my heart. It makes me happy to know you will finally be with Oma and my dad! Ik hou van jou Opa!


Dick Swaab
normandyPark, wa
May 15, 2015


I miss you so much and Love You!! I will always cherish all the great times we had together, you living with Shelley and I and all the great times at Desert Aire. Everybody loved you, and you touched so many lives. Pa you were my best friend and always will be. Please give mom and Oppie a big kiss and hug from me. Good bye for now Pa, until we meet again.

I love you Pa, Tot Ziens!!! Your son Dick

This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.