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Kristen M. Sweder
November 6, 2023
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Kristen Marie Sweder died on Monday, November 6, in Damascus, MD, after collapsing suddenly while teaching a sunrise boot camp class at a local gym. She was surrounded by her family and dear friends at the time of her death.
Kristen was born in Maryland, but grew up in Wheaton, IL, and always had a bit of the Chicagoan in her. She long thought of the Blues Brothers as her siblings. In 1988, she graduated from Wellesley College with degrees in Russian and Religious Studies, and went on to get a master’s degree in theological studies at Harvard Divinity School. In 1990, watching a Bears game at a Cambridge pub, Kristen met Robert Gold. The two were married in 1992, on a beautiful summer day on the Wellesley campus.
Kristen and Robert lived in Cambridge, MA, Toronto (Ph.D. ABD in History of Religion at the University of Toronto), and Kansas City, before moving to Damascus, MD, where they have lived since 2000. Kristen made Damascus her home.
Kristen was first and foremost mom to David, Franny, and James. She loved that her young adult children all chose to live nearby, and her favorite things were happy hour drinks with the kids, or a family workout at David’s garage gym. She was anticipating with tremendous joy the arrival of a granddaughter (beautiful, Olivia Marie Sweder-Gold) this month.
Kristen was an adventurer and a nurturer, always so industrious, and always doing for others. Even in death, she helped many others as an organ and tissue donor. She held people, animals, and nature close to her heart. Her backyard garden (a Maryland certified wildlife sanctuary!) was her haven, and she loved sitting in the quiet of daybreak, with her black coffee, hanging out with the “tweeters” and the critters and her beautiful plants, as much as she loved hosting family and friends, putting on a huge spread of home-made amazingness, and sharing stories and laughs. She had a wry sense of humor and just the right amount of irreverence.
Kristen also loved being active. She was a marathoner, a 2nd degree black belt in karate, and a kick-ass fitness instructor. One of her favorite places was the Magruder Branch trail by her home – she could be found running with a friend or walking alone with her dogs. It was a trail for both solace and deep friendship and connection. Another love of Kristen’s life were dogs –her beloved Shadow, Bailey, Uma, Molly, Doc, and Moose, as well as all the dogs that she fostered from Key to Lion’s Heart dog rescue. She loved her foster pups and felt tremendous gratitude when handing them over to loving “furever” homes.
In 2012, Kristen started to work at Motorola Solutions as a proposal manager, and over more than a decade she became a beloved colleague, mentor, and leader. She was head of the customer success marketing team and loved her team dearly. At work, as in her life, Kristen brought out the best in people. She was known at Motorola both as an inspiring leader and a team player; as someone who led by example and was always optimistic and determined to go above and beyond expectations.
No matter the context, Kristen was ready to dive in. She was the type of person who dropped everything and hopped in the car to drive 10 hours (Tennessee) to see the last full solar eclipse…by herself. The Universe fascinated Kristen, and she invited those around her to share in that wonder.
Kristen is survived by her husband Robert Gold, her children David (and Rachel), Franny, and James; her parents Ken and Carol Sweder of Wheaton, IL, and brother Ken Sweder (Barbara) of Ponte Vidra FL. Niece to Joanne (Bob) Beckjord and loving cousin to Ellen, Steven, Aunt to Louise, Jackson, Kenneth, Samantha and Kaitlyn, Sammy and Ellis.
A celebration of life was held Monday, November 13 from 12:00-2:30 at Vineyard 61 (28712 Kemptown Road, Damascus, MD 20872). The family asks that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Key to Lion’s Heart Rescue (https://www.keytolionsheart.org/our-team).
Peace and Blessings to all…and always remember, The Dude Abides….
Online condolences may be shared with the family on our website at www.molesworthwilliams.com