His idea was crazy, but his support and the outpouring of grief after Richard Swanson’s death last Tuesday is far from insane. Friends and family said at a memorial Sunday, it’s inspirational.
“I’m still in shock. The entire family is in shock,” said Swanson’s son Devin.
Devin gathered with more than 100 people at The Bier Stube bar in Seattle’s Ravenna neighborhood to honor his 42-year-old father, who died Tuesday after being hit by a car while trying to dribble a soccer ball 10,000 miles to Brazil.
It was a charitable endeavor designed to raise awareness to impoverished children, coordinated with the summer World Cup and the One World Futbol Project.
Swanson left Seattle for Brazil and made it to Lincoln City, Oregon when the accident occurred. He’d been on the road just fourteen days.
“I’m angry,” Devin said. “Angry this had to happen. It’s too early.”
But in that short journey, Swanson managed to touch many lives. Outside the bar, Richard’s mother Mary Anne Roblee met Veronica Carr and her young son Harrison from Tacoma. A day after leaving Seattle, Swanson met the pair on his quest and gave the boy his spare soccer ball.
“It gladdens my heart that he was able to do that,” said Roblee. “I wasn’t going to come to Seattle. Sometimes when you share the grief, it makes it easier.”
It was also emotional for Carr.
“I did this (brought children to bar) so they could see the impact somebody’s life could have,” she said, “I just didn’t know it would affect me as much as it has.”
Devin Swanson indicated he would like to continue his father’s journey, perhaps with friends and family.
“He raised me to be who I am today,” he said of his father. “I’m just glad I had that.”