Obit: Karl Frederick “Dato” Swenson

Staff Writer
Devils Lake Journal

Karl Frederick "Dato" Swenson passed away on Saturday, July 20, 2013.

He was born on May 9, 1934 in Devils Lake, ND to Albert and Clara Swenson. Growing up in North Dakota, Karl graduated from Devils Lake High School and attended University of North Dakota on a basketball scholarship. He graduated from college in 1956 with a degree in mining engineering. Karl met his future wife, Denyse Osdoba while working as a waiter in her sorority house at the university. They were married in Minot, ND on May 29, 1957.

After graduating from college, Karl began his outstanding career with Humble Oil and Refining Company. Humble Oil became part of what is known as Exxon Mobil Corporation. This was the start of a 37 year career with Exxon. Karl worked in numerous upstream functions as a senior manager responsible for exploration, development, and production of oil and natural gas resources in the United States and various international locations. He was highly regarded by all Exxon personnel because of his excellent technical and people skills.

During his tenure in Malaysia as President and Managing Director of Exxon's exploration, development, and production operations, he was awarded the title of Dato by the Sultan of Terengganu for his outstanding contributions. His last assignment, prior to his retirement, was the Chief Executive of Exxon's extensive interest in Yemen.

After college Karl took up the game of golf. He became a lifelong, avid golfer. He was a long standing member of The Champions Golf Club in Houston, where he made many great friends over the years.

He took great pride in watching his grand children and great-grand children take up the game. In retirement, Karl enjoyed creating memories with his grandchildren. He enjoyed snow skiing, white water rafting at his home in Montana, and of course, golf.

He was the true patriarch of the family. Typical family gatherings would include 30-40 family members at his home. He touched so many lives and will be sorely missed.

Surviving him is his wife of 58 years, Denyse Swenson; daughters, Dr. Karla Ramsey and Karen Barnett;  son, Steven Swenson; 11 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Albert and Clara Swenson; brother, Don Swenson; and daughter, Susan Swenson.