Searching for the Founding Swedes

Searching for the Founding Swedes

SEATTLE, March 5, 2007 – Bert Lundh and Marianne Forssblad are two Swedes on a mission.

Lundh, a Seattle businessman, and Forssblad, executive director of Ballard's Nordic Heritage Museum, are diligently tracking down all known descendants of the 11 original incorporators of Swedish Hospital, the not-for-profit organization established June 13, 1908. Known today as Swedish Medical Center, it is the largest health-care provider in Washington state.

Family members of the founders and the Seattle medical community will be honored at a public dinner on Saturday, April 21 at 6 p.m. at the Swedish Cultural Center (1920 Dexter Ave. N., Seattle). Lundh and Forssblad expect more than 250 people will partake of a lavish traditional Swedish dinner. The event is a prelude to the celebration of Swedish Medical Center's centennial, which kicks off in 2010 – exactly 100 years after Swedish saw its first patient.

On the search list are any living relatives of the Swedish Hospital founders – Andrew Chilberg, Nils A. Johanson, M.D., P. A. Hallberg, J. A. Soderberg, John Kalberg, Godfrey Chealander, N. J. Nyquist, Emil Lovegren, Israel Nelson, Gustaf Axel Edelsvard and H. E. Turner.

"A few of these fellows were born in America, but most came from Sweden," Lundh said. "They were all hard workers, very active in their community and committed to making sure Seattle had a good health-care facility."

Among many other civic responsibilities, eight of the original board members were past presidents of the Swedish Club, the former name of the Swedish Cultural Center, which is hosting the recognition event.

Lundh and Forssblad have invited a number of prominent guests to the dinner, including Swedish Consul General of Los Angeles Tomas Rosander. Other speakers will include Swedish Medical Center Trustee Ned Turner, whose grandfather H. E. Turner was a hospital founder, incoming Swedish President and CEO Rodney Hochman, M.D., and outgoing Swedish President and CEO Richard Peterson.

Lundh, who emigrated from Sweden in 1949, is the owner of the Porcelain Gallery in Seattle's Magnolia neighborhood. He also operated a successful commercial construction business for 44 years, retiring in 1994. He is the current president of Northwest Kidney Centers Foundation and one of the founders of the Nordic Heritage Museum.

Forssblad has been director of the Nordic Heritage Museum since its founding 27 years ago. She is retiring in April and returning to Sweden to live.

Tickets to the April 21 dinner are $100 each and can be ordered through the Swedish Cultural Center by calling 206-283-1090. Anyone with information about descendants of the Swedish Hospital founders can contact Bert Lundh at 206-284-5893.

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Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive, nonprofit health provider in the Pacific Northwest. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill (formerly Providence) and Ballard – a new freestanding emergency room and specialty center in Issaquah, Swedish Home Care Services and Swedish Physicians – a network of 12 primary-care clinics. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiac care, oncology, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, neurological care, sleep medicine, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org

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