November 15, 1938 – November 17, 2019
Joel was born on November 15, 1938 to Herman and Esther Swanson in Waukegan, Illinois. He was the second of four children with siblings Herman, Robert, and Faye. Being born with spina bifida, he was unable to leave the hospital for over a month. He was baptized on Christmas 1938 in the hospital before being released January 11, 1939. The following years were spent in and out of Shriners Hospital in Chicago, where Joel’s legs were amputated, and he learned to walk on artificial legs. Despite this, Joel competed in multiple sports during high school including baseball, football, track and field, and especially wrestling. At age twenty-one, Joel moved to California to go to college for engineering. This led to his 29-year career at Interstate Electronics in Anaheim where he helped develop equipment for nuclear submarines. It was also in Anaheim where, on a blind date at Disneyland set up by his sister Faye, he met Evelyn Hampton and her daughter Marci on October 6, 1972. He and Evelyn were married a day short of a year later on October 5, 1973 in the chapel at Knott’s Berry Farm. He continued to be actively involved in sports, as a trainer for a semi-pro football team and as an assistant coach for Marci’s softball team. He was very involved with his family and never missed any performance his grandchildren were part of. Joel was with Evelyn almost every day as her health deteriorated until she passed away in January 1999. Joel spent his retired years watching Angels and Ducks games, playing bridge with his friends, volunteering at church, and supporting his grandchildren in their endeavors. Joel is survived by his brother Herm, daughter Marci, and grandchildren Matthew and Nicole.
- Celebration of Life Tuesday, November 26, 2019