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Sweeney, James - DD-350


James Sweeney


You can use most any measure when you’re speaking of success. You can measure it in fancy home, expensive car, or dress, but the measure of your real success is the one you cannot spend. It’s the way your kids describe you when they’re talking to a friend. Wonderful loving husband, father, and grandfather loved by all.

James Arthur Sweeney, 84, of St. Ignace, MI and St. Petersburg, FL, passed away Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at his home surrounded by family.

Jim was born June 10, 1925 in Hamilton, PA to Edward and Ida (Mauk) Sweeney. He was a graduate of Plumville, PA high school and moved toBattle Creek, MI where he enlisted in the Navy in 1943.

Jim saw action during WWII in the Pacific on the U.S.S. Pittsburgh CA-72. During the battle of Iwo Jima, the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Franklin was hit, resulting in many lives lost and an order to abandon the ship. The Pittsburgh took the U.S.S. Franklin under tow, keeping the damaged craft afloat until the remaining crews were able to extinguish the fire and restart one of the carrier’s engines so it could return to a safe port for repairs. Later the Pittsburgh was off the coast of Guam when it was hit by a typhoon with winds exceeding 130 mph, causing damage to the ship that included the loss of 100 ft of its bow. Jim was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1946.

After leaving the service Jim became an Ironworker, joining Local 340 and later transferred to Local 25. Jim maintained his Union membership for a total of 62 years. As an Ironworker he worked on many landmark projects around Michigan, but the highlight of his career was working on the Mackinac Bridge throughout its construction (1954 to 1957).

Jim married the love of his life, Margaret D. (Miller) Sweeney on December 30, 1950 and the two of them enjoyed nearly 59 years of marriage. Together they had 6 children; Dennis (Cindy) Sweeney of St. Petersburg, FL, James (Brenda) Sweeney of Lansing, MI, Timothy (Shari) Sweeney of Mason, MI, Tama (Thomas) Snider of Grand Ledge, MI, Mick Sweeney of St. Petersburg, FL, Gina Caputo of St. Petersburg, FL.

Jim and Marge also have 6 grandchildren; Mitchell Sweeney, Jesse (Elizabeth) Sweeney, Sara Sweeney, Anais Sweeney, Erin Sweeney, Caitlin (Joseph) Barshaw, and 2 great-grandchildren; Elena and Luciana Sweeney.

In 1965 Jim moved his family to St. Johns, MI where he continued to do Ironwork on various projects in Lower Michigan until his retirement in 1987.


After retirement Jim and Marge returned to their home in St. Ignace where Jim enjoyed an active life. He loved spending time with his family, fishing in the Straits of Mackinac, golfing nearly every day at the St. Ignace Country Club and watching Tiger baseball. During the winter months Jim and Marge enjoyed life in St. Petersburg, FL.

Jim was a member of St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus Council 2173.

Jim is survived by his wife and children, a brother Earl Sweeney of Floral City, FL and a sister Mona Brandou of E. Lansing, MI.

Jim was preceded in death by his grandson David Sweeney.

Jim was admired by his family for his innovative “can do” attitude coupled with his jovial wit and wisdom. He could always be counted on for a smile and a story.

A memorial Mass will be held at St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church in St. Ignace, MI on Saturday, September 26, 2009 at 1:00 in the afternoon. Visitation is from noon to 1 p.m., at the church.

Memorial contributions may be made on behalf of Jim Sweeney to Hospice of the Eastern U.P., or the St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church Building Fund. Envelopes are available at Dodson Funeral Home, which is assisting the family with arrangements.