Carol Swoboda

Carol Swoboda, who was born on Dec. 25, 1949, died on Jan. 4, 2020. Carol’s Celebration of Life was held on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020,  at St. Juan Diego Catholic Church in Portland, Ore.  There was a Sung Rosary followed by a Mass of Resurrection Funeral Mass. A reception followed at the Hillsboro Brookwood Library Event Room in Hillsboro, Ore.

Legend has it that Lawrence Conroy asked his wife, Esther, what she might like for her next Christmas. “I want another baby” was her reply. And so, the following year, on Christmas Day in 1949, a baby girl, Carol, arrived before noon and just in time for her mother to have Christmas dinner delivered to her room. Carol died on Jan. 4, 2020.

Helen Carol Conroy was born and raised in Sidney, Montana, with her sister Mary Kathryn and brother Michael John. She was fondly nicknamed Pretty Sue which transformed to Piddy Sue and later became Pid. She grew up with her double cousins Marilyn, Irene, Jimmy, and Kathy, and her future brother-in-law, Kenny, which made for a childhood full of wild feats and legendary stories.

After graduating from Sidney High School in 1968, Carol attended Eastern Montana College in Billings, Montana. There, she met the love of her life, Steven Swoboda. She graduated with a secondary education degree in history and psychology in 1972. 

On the hottest day in August that year, Carol and Steve were married and moved to Shelby, Mont., where they spent their next 28 years. While Steve taught middle school science, Carol worked at Toole County State Bank, was a stay-at-home Mom, and then became employed as the Shelby Middle School librarian. 

In 1984, she was hired as Deputy Clerk of Court and then became the Toole County Clerk of District Court in 1995. Carol and Steve moved to Hillsboro, Ore., in the fall of 2000, and she worked for Washington County Conciliation Services until her retirement in the spring of 2016.

Family has always been a priority in Carol’s life. In March 1977, she gave birth to her daughter Esther Renée, and in 1980, the family was complete with the arrival of Randi-Leigh Elizabeth. Carol focused her energies on her family, raising her daughters while keeping in touch with friends and family members across the miles over long Saturday morning phone calls.

As a devout Catholic throughout her life, Carol helped sponsor several people into the church at St. William Catholic Parish RCIA program in Shelby. After moving to Oregon, she was one of the initial members of St. Juan Diego Parish, served at the Beaverton Faith Cafe, and volunteered for St. Juan Diego sacristan ministry and ironed altar table linens.

Carol was a shining light of love and compassion towards others. Over her 70 years, Carol was an angel in her own way, guiding, influencing, and supporting numerous people along the way. Carol loved staying in touch with others by phone, cards, and intuitive texts. She enjoyed reading non-fiction, listening to NPR, watching MSNBC, and she was always proud when she got in 10,000 steps a day. 

Carol cherished her travels to Europe and got great pleasure and independence driving her Mini Cooper with Adele playing loudly.

Over the past 10 years, her favorite role was ‘Grandma.’ She would often invent reasons to babysit, host the kids for a sleepover, or just come over – anything to have cherished quality time together. Her humor, quick wit, and animated storytelling skills were captivating.

She is survived by her husband, Steve; daughter, Renée (Brian) Niepoky; daughter, Randi-Leigh Swoboda (Kyle Gillies); grandchildren, Katy, Emma, and Ben of Portland, Ore.; sister, Mary Zimmer of Glendive, Montana; double cousin, Jim Conroy of Great Falls, Montana; and numerous nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Lawrence and Esther Conroy; brother, Mike Conroy; double cousins, Marilyn Hogan, Kathy Matson, and Irene Christianson; and brother-in-law, Kenny Zimmer.

Carol had extraordinary medical care throughout her entire journey dealing with brain cancer. We are grateful for the care she received from: Providence St. Vincent Neuro-Oncology Team, The Oregon Clinic Neurosurgery and Radiation Oncology Teams, and Providence Hospice Care. 

In lieu of flowers, a donation to honor Carol Swoboda can be made to Providence St. Vincent Medical Foundation online. You can choose to give to the Brain & Spine Foundation, Hospice/End of Life Services, or My Little Waiting Room, a service that provided excellent care to her grandchildren during her appointments.