Richard was born in Leek, Staffs, England to parents Doreen and Leonard Swinson and was later joined by his sister Carole. He was a very smart kid going to High School early and followed by Medical School at Liverpool University where he graduated as a doctor at the age of 23. This was followed by an English M.D. and several other degrees. In 1972 the family of five moved to Canada, arriving to a special welcome as Richard was honoured as the 10,000,000th immigrant into Canada.
He met his wife of almost 60 years when he was 16 and she was 14. They had a loving relationship all their lives, one of deep respect for each other and love for their three children Rob, Ian, and Emma. He adored his grandchildren who were guaranteed to put a smile on his face whenever he saw them. He was a wonderful father and grandfather.
Richard had an incredible career as you can see from the attached notice from McMaster. He was one of the foremost physicians in his field and patients came to see him from all over Canada. He also had an outstanding academic career. He authored over 200 papers, wrote ten books, and mentored countless new psychiatrists and psychologists. He respected everyone and everyone respected him. The same words to describe him are heard over and over, that he was kind, gracious, friendly, supportive and caring, and that he handled everything that came his way with wisdom, humour, and compassion. He was a gentle man and a gentleman.
The loss of his eldest son Rob to an impaired driver in 1993 devastated the whole family. Richard will be buried next to his beautiful son Rob. and they will be together once more.
Donations please in lieu of flowers to MADD Canada, Fund for Ontario Monument for Victims of Impaired driving
OR McMaster University, Dept. of Psychiatry and Behavioural Neurosciences Research.
From Richard's team at McMaster University
To all current members of our Department and our Alumni,
It is with great sadness that I am writing to let you know that Richard Swinson, Professor Emeritus and our department's 6th Chair, passed away peacefully on February 21st, 2023 at the age of 82.
Richard served as Department Chair and Psychiatrist-in-Chief at St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton from 1997-2006 and was Medical Director of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre (ATRC) at St. Joe’s from 1998-2017. Prior to coming to McMaster, Richard was the Director of the Anxiety Disorders Program at CAMH (Centre for Addiction and Mental Health) from 1990-1997.
Richard completed his training in the United Kingdom before coming to Canada with his family in 1972, where he had the distinction of being acknowledged on his arrival as Canada’s 10 millionth immigrant since Confederation. He was a Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada and the Royal College of Psychiatrists in the UK. He was awarded an inaugural Distinguished Fellowship of the Canadian Psychiatric Association in 2006 and was made a Distinguished Life Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association in 2017.
Richard was instrumental in the creation of the Anxiety Treatment and Research Centre and in overseeing the move the of our administrative offices from McMaster to St. Joseph’s, the opening of the Child and Youth unit at MUMC, and the establishment of our Alternate Funding Plan (AFP) in 2004.
His research interests lay in the theory, assessment, and treatment of anxiety disorders, particularly OCD and SAD. He published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers, thirty book chapters, and ten books. He also chaired the steering committee for the Canadian Anxiety Treatment Guidelines Initiative, leading to the publication of Canadian Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Management of Anxiety Disorders in 2006. And through his many roles with the Royal College was influential in the evolution of Postgraduate Psychiatric Education in Canada and its training guidelines.
But perhaps even more than his many accomplishments Richard will be remembered by everyone who knew him as being just "a lovely man", kind, friendly, welcoming, supportive and caring, who handled everything that came his way with wisdom, humor, compassion, and grace.
On behalf of us all, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to Richard’s wife Carolyn, his children, Emma, Ian, and Robert (deceased 1993), his grandchildren Lucy, Matthew, and Maggie and to all his family members, and we will let you know about the funeral arrangement details as soon as they are finalized.
Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Cremation & Funeral Centres