School 31

Robert J. Swanson

December 31, 1949 ~ March 15, 2022 (age 72)


Robert J. Swanson, “Zort Ziffel,” age 72 of Grand Haven, passed away on Tuesday, March 15, 2022 at Holland Hospital. He was born on December 31, 1949 in Grand Rapids, MI to Robert and Regina (Cudney) Swanson. 

Bob graduated from Goodwin High School, Class of 1968, and then attended Milligan College in Tennessee to obtain his bachelor’s degree in Education. He married Denise Closs in 1995 in Grand Haven, MI.

Mr. Z was an educator for 35 years, and spent most of that time in Grand Haven Public Schools at Ferry Elementary School, prior to his retirement ten years ago. He had a passion for music and played in several local bands including “Them Two Guys” and “The Bottom Feeders.” He was also a member of the West Michigan Mandolin Orchestra.

Bob enjoyed camping and was a steward of the Earth who could often be found walking in local parks and trail ways, filling his pockets with trash he picked up along the way. He regarded everyone he met as a brother or sister in our family and gave his love, support, and time freely. People always left loving themselves a little more because Bob loved them. His greatest joy in life was spending time with his family, especially his 12 grandchildren.

His infectious smile and lousy jokes will live on through his loving wife of 27 years, Denise; and their children, Aaron, Ian, Bram, Ariel, daughter-in-law Susan, and Allegra (Matt Novak) Swanson, Jessica (Patrick) Clover, and Luke Wing; 12 grandchildren; siblings, Janet (Greg) Ryskamp, Dennis (Karen) Swanson, Sherrie (Frank) Tamburello, Randy Swanson (Sue Barfelz), Jody (Nina) Swanson, Kelly Swanson, and Honorary brother, Tom Henry; as well as several nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his son, Jason Swanson; and sister, Kathy Zavala.

The Celebration of Life for Bob will take place on Sunday, March 20, 2022 from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m. at Klaassen Family Funeral Home, with a service of remembrance starting at 4:00 p.m. with Ben Williams Officiating.  Eulogy offered by Steven "Two Dogs" Potter.

Memorial Contributions may be made to K.I.N.D. Fund c/o UNICEF USA. 

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Robert J. Swanson, please visit our floral store.


Celebration of Life Visitation
March 20, 2022

1:00 PM to 4:00 PM
Klaassen Family Funeral Home
1500 Robbins Road
Grand Haven, MI 49417

Service of Remembrance
March 20, 2022

4:00 PM
Klaassen Family Funeral Home
1500 Robbins Road
Grand Haven, MI 49417


K.I.N.D. Fund c/o UNICEF USA
125 Maiden Lane, New York NY 10038
Tel: 1-800-367-5437

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