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Old 12-09-2006, 03:33 AM   #1
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<span class="ev_code_BLUE">Bill "CROSSROADS" Swanson</span>
<span class="ev_code_BLUE">April 23, 1955 - October 3, 2002</span>

by Pat Swanson

Bill was born on April 23, 1955. He has an older brother and his mother, Marga, whom I've remained very close to, lives about 10 minutes from me. Bill grew up in Babylon, NY (Long Island) which is as much small town USA as one can get. We still live in this lovely waterfront community.

He graduated from Babylon High School and went to college where he studied technology. After graduation, he became a technology teacher (it used to be called "Industrial Arts" or "shop class"). He received his Master's Degree in reading a few years later.

Bill and I met in 1980 and he proposed to me on our third date! Yes, you read that right...the third date! We were engaged in 2 1/2 weeks and were married 16 months later. We lived in the house his father built in Babylon for several years and then bought our own lovely house in Babylon.

When we first married, Bill had a slide-on camper, but we didn't really use it that much. We camped on Long Island's famed beaches just minutes from our home! We'd pitch a tent after driving on the beach with his truck. We traveled a lot before our sons were born although we didn't just camp, we included many hotel vacations to Disney, Hilton Head, S.C., Florida, Pa., etc.


In 1989, our first son, Kevin, was born. Bill was the best dad. He doted on Kevin and would often pack up the baby's car seat, put it in his truck, and take little trips to the store here and there, just to spend time with Kevin. He'd come home from work and immediately take Kevin and start playing with him. They'd get on the floor and play until Kevin's bedtime.

Nineteen months later, our other son, Bryan, was born. Now imagine the three of my favorite males playing on the floor, once Bryan was old enough to move around! It was hysterical!

We bought a 17foot Yellowstone trailer and the boys took to camping like fish to water! Bill showed them all the things he thought they should know very early on. Kevin would put the wheel chocks by the tires while Bryan, shadowing his dad, would beasking a million questions. Bill would patiently answer every last one while I'd be setting up the inside of trailer.

Then we decided to buy a large Palomio pop-up. It was brand new and we were so excited! However, we only used it three times because we caught an eyeful of our friend's brand new travel trailer with this cool new feature called a "slide-out"! It was beautiful.

We went looking at out regular dealer (Eddy's Long Island Trailer Sales) where the owner Tommy showed us the options. We decided to buy a new 34 foot fifth wheel to go with Bill's brand new truck, a Dodge 1500. We used the fifth wheel the rest of that summer and loved it. The fiver was a pleasure to tow. However, the following May, we decided that the fiver was a bit too small and we found a beautiful fifth wheel in CT while on vacation. Although we really wanted to buy in NY dealing with Eddy's Trailers, the owner we were talking with told us about a new make he was getting in - a Crossroads. He showed us floor plans and we fell in love with one in particular. My sons would have their own little bedroom with an entertainment center and a dresser! It was amazing. We bought a 31 foot Crossroads fifth wheel and had it custom made. We ordered it and then decided to take the boys to Disney in Florida. We booked a two week stay and stayed in a lovely hotel right in Disney (we didn't want to camp this vacation). Upon returning, we got the call we were waiting for...the new fiver was on. We couldn't wait to see it. It was spectacular. It had everything and then some. In the meantime, I forgot to mention, Bill had ordered a brand new Dodge Dual Wheel diesel 3500. This was basically his dream truck. He loved the sound and, yes, even the smell (must be a guy thing). We drove to the IRV2 rally in Branson Missouri right after having returned from Disney. Boy did we travel that summer! Bill had me take the wheel of the truck with that fiver going up and down the mountains of Missouri (as Rick Koelsch would say, "those aren't mountains...those are only hills"...not to me!). I am a teacher also, so we had the summers off ...what a great opportunity to travel. The boys were always up for a trip and loved every minute. The fiver towed like a dream. We went to many places that summer.

School started in Sept. and once again, Bill dedicated himself to the Robotics club in his school. He'd done this for a few years and was instrumental in getting it started. It's a club that competes on a national level. The middle and high school students, along with a few teachers build a robot and then compete with schools from all over the country. He loved it and even brought along our son, Kevin to observe this process (it was after school. On Sept 13, Bill was rear ended and experienced some back pain. To him, worse than the pain was the fact that his new truck had its right side torn off (a lady drove up on his side after having hit him and two wheeled it across his passenger side). He had to use a rental car for a few weeks while his truck was fixed. He'd check on it often to see its progress.

On October 3, 2002, I called him on a break from my school only to find out from him that he was having chest pains and that he was driving himself to the hospital. I met him there and right before my eyes, he coded and though they worked on him for 40 minutes, he passed away. I then had the task of telling my sons (ages 11 & 13) that their dad had passed away...by far one of the hardest things I've ever had to do (the only thing harder was having the boys see him in the funeral parlor).

The night Bill passed away, Kevin asked me if we'd ever go camping again. I tried to reassure him by telling him that I'd try to keep things as close to "normal" as possible. What was normal though? Nothing would ever be normal again, right? I knew what Kevin was really asking though: he wanted to know if the three of us would be okay without his dad. I had to be strong for our sons.

I promised Bill as I said my final good-byes that I'd take care of our boys just as we had done together, except now I had to go it alone. We went through the wake and funeral. There was a never-ending line out the funeral parlor room, down the hall, and outside into the parking lot. There were about 1,000 or more people that paid their respects. Students, parents, colleagues, friends, family, and even people who remembered Bill from the baseball and soccer fields came. Bill and I had celebrated our 20th anniversary on April 4! Now only a few months later, I had to bury him.

Thank God for a wonderful support system. We had family and friends to watch over us. We'd made many new friends through IRV2 and these new friends behaved like great old friends...they called us, e-mailed us, visited us, and stayed in touch with us. They donated to the boys' scholarship fund! Amazing the network of friends we'd developed over the years camping! They were a godsend.

I decided to look into buying a new trailer or motor home for us. At first, I said that we'd buy a small trailer...maybe about 23 feet or so. But, after having spent time in a big fiver, there was no way! I kept looking at bigger and bigger until I ended up buying a 30 foot Gulf Stream Conquest. It has a slide and the bunks. We were so excited. At the time, I'd bought a new Ford Expedition. I still hadn't figured out how I would hook and unhook it though until Kevin and Bryan both said they'd watched and helped their dad so many times that we could handle it all together. I said, "Okay." My friends taught me how to back in and now I do it pretty much like a pro. When we pull in and I back in, usually the men gather around and watch just to see this lady really back it in! Then they usually turn to their wives and say, "Honey, why can't you do that?" I know that Bill is my copilot, guiding me down the road and with our sons. Thank God Bill had me drive in Missouri. I don't know if I would have tried it if I hadn't!

Now, the boys are 15 and 17. Kevin is graduating from high school and will be going to college in the fall. Bryan is in 10th grade and wants to go to Notre Dame when he graduates. They've grown into fine young men (both over 6 feet tall) and I am very proud of them . They are good young men and this is due to the fact that their dad was a fine role model. Kevin is driving and wants to try towing with me...I need to breathe first (LOL). They both tell me they want to camp when they have kids too. I hope so because camping has given us many gifts: the gift of friends, travel, experiences, laughter, and many other blessings. It allowed me to give my sons the gift of their dad when we still traveled even after Bill had passed away. My sons are very at ease when meeting new people and are very able to converse with just about anyone. This is due to the fact that whenever we camped, they'd meet people from all walks of life and accepted them. They are open to new ventures and I am so pleased. It wasn't easy because I missed siting by the fire at night while the boys explored the camp grounds. Bill gave of himself in all he did. He was often on IRV2 giving advice or asking for some. He enjoyed the Wednesday night chats so much!

Well, here we are 4 years after Bill passed away. His legacy lives on in our lives. When I miss him, all I have to do is look at our sons and he is alive in them in so many moments. I see the way Kevin stands and folds his arms...that was Bill. I see Bryan's easy nature...that was Bill. They both have an easy sense of humor too, which was Bill! I could go on and on! I am lucky enough to have found love again. I have been going with a wonderful man for two years now. This relationship is a testament to my marriage to Bill. We were easy together. We were buddies. I learned a lot from Bill and this carries over into my relationship now.
Pat Swanson
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Old 12-10-2006, 02:17 PM   #2
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Orginal Post made by RKAMPERRV on October 03, 2002 at 6:40pm EST</span>

I am very saddened to have to tell you that Bill Swanson (Crossroads) had a massive heart attack and passed away today. He was a great friend who I only met last Spring. Please keep his wife, Patty, and two sons, Kevin and Brian, in your prayers. We'll miss you Bill!

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #3
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 3, 2002 in Mid-Atlantic and Nor'easters section</span>

It is with my deepest sympathy to learn the news of Bill's passing. My heart and prayers go out to his wife, Patty and two sons, Brian and Kevin.

May God bless him and his family and one day I hope to meet him along the road to that undiscovered place, from whose born no traveler shall return.



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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #4
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/ Nor'easters section</span>

Pam and I send our condolances to Patty, Brian, and Kevin. This is shocking news. We had the oportunity to meet Bill, Patty, and the deamon spawn twice this past season. We were looking forward to camping with them in the future. Bill, you will be missed.



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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #5
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters section</span>

This is to much to comprehend.I just got e-mail from him the other day.Rick I need you to e-mail me with details of the funeral and where to send my condolances,if you have this info.I am so sad.
Tell Patty and the kids we are here for them

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #6
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'esters Section</span>

In this hour of berievement we can only think of how happy Bill was doing his favorite activity, RVing and camping with his family.

We shall all certainly remember that smile, his love for life and his family.

You will certainly be missed and your name will remain forever honored here on our website.

Farewell "Crossroads" ... May God speed you towards your next destination. May He hold you in the palm of his hand and may He offer your family His comfort in this their gravest hour ....

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #7
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters Section</span>

Kathy and I send our condolences to Bills family and they are in our prayers. May God watch over his family in this time of sorrow.

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #8
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters section</span>

Bill you will be missed,may you rest in peace.
It was great camping with you and your family





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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #9
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters section</span>

Ruth and I are shocked and saddened at the loss of a good friend and camping pal; Bill. We hope and pray that Patty and the boys will be looked after by the good Lord and their sorrow will be shared by all of us who came in contact with a great guy.....

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #10
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters section</span>

Although I posted eleswhere, I also wanted to post under Bill's "home" thread. So very sorry to hear this. Just doesn't seem possible. Our prayers are with you.
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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #11
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Orginal post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters section</span>

Although Sandy and I never had a chance to meet Bill and his family, we knew him as a fellow iRV2'er. Please express our condolences to his family. They are in our thoughts and prayers.

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #12
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 03, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters section</span>

As soon as Patty calls me with details I will email them to anyone that wants them. Please send me your email address to rkoelsch@prodigy.net

Bill was an awesome person and a great friend. I am very depressed. Friends like that don't come along often.

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Old 12-17-2006, 05:32 AM   #13
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<span class="ev_code_RED">Original post made on October 3, 2002 in the Mid-Atlantic/Nor'easters Section</span>

Hi All,
Sandy & I, like Frankie, can't believe this news! I was just talking with him last night in the chat room! Our prayers and sympathy go out to Patty and their sons. I know this doesn't seem like much, however it's nice to think of how they had such a great time together as a family this past summer. RK please included us in the request for information regarding arrangements.

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Old 01-07-2007, 02:39 AM   #14
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Our "Crossroads" Forum was named in memory of Bill who loved to travel in his RV. We thought it appropriate and a fitting commemorative.
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