Jim ‘Swede’ Sweeden passed away November 15th, 2019 due to a stroke after battling cancer for 3 years.
He was born in Riverside, California September 10, 1947 to parents Jimmy Sweeden Jr. and Dorothy Sweeden (Brown).
Baseball was his childhood passion, he was scouted as a teenager but he went to Vietnam instead. He joined the Navy and entered bootcamp on his 17th birthday. He was a radioman on the destroyer USS Herbert J Thomas. Jim served three tours of duty in Vietnam and was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with 3 Bronze Stars, and a Republic Vietnam Campaign Medal with Device. Jim and his fellow shipmates were unwitting test subjects of project SHAD 112 (shipboard hazardous and defense). The government declassified files on September 31st, 2002 documenting the testing done from 1963 to 1964 to active service members totaling around 5,000.
He had a great love of boxing and was on his navy ship boxing team, they called him ‘The Hammer’. Jim remained involved in the sport at some level throughout his life and even met his hero, Muhammed Ali. He volunteered at Lent’s Boys Club in Portland Oregon as a basketball, baseball and boxing coach, he also enjoyed training upcoming boxers. He moved to the central Oregon coast in the early 1970’s, meeting the love of his life Lynda in August 1975. They then moved to the Portland area to pursue his music career. He supported his family with his metal craftmanship while getting his foot in the local music scene.
He formed the country rock group ‘The Borderline Band’ that played in Portland and surrounding areas and toured across the Northwestern States and Canada. They played as far East as Montana and North Dakota and even opened once for Johnny Cash at a South Dakota State Fair. Jim, Lynda, and kids moved back to Lincoln County in 1986 and he worked in various boat yards where he sponsoned and made repairs to many commercial fishing boats. His integrity and his welds kept a lot of local fishermen safe in the Bering Sea. In 1998 Jim made his debut at the Bay Haven and rekindled his love of playing with other musicians and entertaining audiences with his music. He was a local music legend. Jim was a loving father, husband and grandfather who took much pride in his family.
Jim and Lynda shared 44 wonderful years together. Jim is survived by his wife Lynda Sweeden; children Shane Sweeden, Yvonne (Lucas) Pickner, Jarat (Julie) Sweeden; grandchildren Brittany Sweeden, Kyralyn Pickner, Kaitlyn Pickner, Mylz Pickner, Zoe Sweeden, and Ava Sweeden; sister Joanna Branigan and his many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father Jimmy Sweeden Jr.; mother Dorothy Brown; stepfather Sid Brown and sister Jeanette Sweeden.
Saturday 23rd, we will be holding a spiritual and military memorial service at the Fishermen’s Memorial at the Yaquina Bay State Park at noon, followed by the family later spreading his ashes at sea. Saturday night there will be a wake at the Bay Haven. A Celebration of Life will be held Sunday the 24th at noon at the Newport Eagles Lodge. In lieu of flowers the family requests donations be made to the Children’s Fund of Eagles Lodge #2817, located in Newport, OR.