Philip Vernon Swan – Obituary

March 25, 1929 — Dec. 7, 2017

Philip Vernon Swan
Philip Vernon Swan

Philip Vernon Swan of Pasadena passed away peacefully on Dec. 7. He was 88 years old.
Phil was born on March 25, 1929, in Pasadena. He grew up in San Marino, lived in South Pasadena for 54 years, and most recently was a resident of Pasadena. He was a graduate of Pomona College and Stanford University School of Business. Phil had a successful career as an investment counselor and entrepreneur, eventually founding his own investment counsel firm in Pasadena, now Clifford Swan Investment Counselors.
In the 1970s he co-founded Books on Tape, which made it possible to listen to books while driving. Phil continued working into his 80s as a private trustee. In addition to his professional life, Phil was extremely active in the community. Over the years he gave his time and leadership skills to the South Pasadena Community Redevelopment Agency, the Oneonta Club Scholarship Committee, Oneonta Congregational Church, Los Angeles Rotary, the Economic Roundtable, the Huntington Library Board of Overseers, the Braille Institute and Forest Lawn Boards of Directors and Scripps College where he served on the board of trustees.
Phil had a lust for life and had many hobbies and passions. Among them were a keen interest in history and his collection of autographed pictures of U.S. political and business leaders. Phil was a dedicated baseball and USC football fan. He attended an impressive 73 Rose Bowl games. Phil traveled extensively and orchestrated special grandparent trips with his grandchildren. He had countless friends and thoroughly enjoyed getting together with people over a meal at a good restaurant. He will be remembered for his intense work ethic, boundless energy, dedication to family, generosity, sense of humor, and as a dispenser of advice and wisdom.
Phil is survived by his wife, Kay Schwarberg Swan; daughter Karen Steen and son-in-law Eric Steen of Kansas City, Missouri; daughter Sara Swan of Los Angeles; and son Philip A. Swan of Pasadena. He leaves seven grandchildren: Emily, Audrey and Madeline Steen, Bridget and Roy Wexman, and Craig and Arden MacLaren-Swan. He is preceded in death by his first wife, Sally Preston Swan.
A memorial service took place on Dec. 19 at San Marino Community Church, followed by a reception at a private club in Pasadena. Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association at

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