Phillip Swender

Obituary of Phillip Tharp Swender

Dr. Phillip T. Swender, 80, passed away peacefully on Sunday May 3, 2020 at the New York State Veterans home in Montrose, New York.


Dr. Swender is survived by his daughters, Jennifer Swender of Amherst, Massachusetts and Melissa Swender of New York, NY; sons-in-law Paul DuBois Jacobs and Jeffrey Schecter; his former wife, Elvira Swender; and four grandchildren, Natalia and Nico Jacobs and Helena and Mattias Schecter. He is preceded in death by his daughter, Rebecca Swender.


Born and raised in Des Moines, Iowa, the son of Harvey and Rachel Swender, Phil earned a Bachelor of Theology and Bachelor of Arts in Biology at Binghamton University before receiving his Medical Degree at the SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse. As a member of the U.S. Air Force, he served as Chief of Pediatrics at Clark Air Force Base hospital and directed the medical screening for the Vietnam Orphan Evacuation of 1975.


After returning to upstate New York, he served for many years as Associate Professor of Pediatrics at SUNY Health Science Center at Syracuse, as well as director of the Cystic Fibrosis Center and Pediatric Pulmonology Center. He was a well loved and highly regarded member of the medical community in Syracuse until 2003, when he suffered a stroke.


Dr. Swender was an accomplished musician with a great love for jazz piano. He also found great joy as a member of the Syracuse Theater community, appearing in many productions over the years. His weekly radio show, “Kids and Health” aired for almost a decade. He enjoyed reading, writing and teaching, and had a special interest in medical ethics. He was a dedicated Syracuse Orange basketball fan.


In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Rebecca Swender Great People Scolarship Fund at the University of Wisconsin or the Upstate Golisano Children's Hospital in Syracuse, NY).

The family would like to thank the New York State Veterans Home at Montrose for their care and dedication.