John Sweeney, Jr.: Beloved Southern Humboldt Volunteer, People Person and a Loyal, Fun-loving Friend
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John Joseph Sweeney Jr. was born in Newark, New Jersey on October 28, 1953. He passed on January 28, 2017 while working around his home. John loved being out in nature. He was fortunate to have passed quickly surrounded by trees.
He was preceded in death by his parents Gloria Dunleavy Sweeney and John Sweeney Sr. He is survived by his wife Doris (Blanchard), son Sean Sweeney, sister Lynne Lavanco (Carl), nephew Ryan Lavanco, the Blanchard family of Wayne, MI, the White family of Ringwood, NJ, many nieces and nephews, and dear friends all across the country. John was always a people person and a loyal, fun-loving friend. He graduated in 1971 from Pequannock High School in Pequannock, NJ. He was a varsity wrestler and football player for the Panthers. He has many childhood and high school friends that he still talks to on a regular basis.
After high school he worked as a truck driver and then at State Metal in Camden, NJ for 20+ years. Although the factory work in the smelts was a hard, dreary job, he always found the opportunity to do good in any situation. When a co-worker traumatically lost his leg on the job, John was the one by his side until emergency services got there. John was so affected by his friend’s situation, that he gave him his Harley-Davidson Servi-Car to get around with. The co- worker was overwhelmingly grateful for the generosity John showed him. For John, it was just what you did for others in need of help.
While working at State Metals, he moved to Philadelphia where he made many lifelong friends and enjoyed good times. He met his wife Doris Blanchard Sweeney during this time. In 1997 they fulfilled John’s longtime dream of moving west to California. John and Doris married December 12, 1998. They worked locally and bought a home in Miranda. On May 18, 1999 they welcomed their only child Sean Sweeney. He was John’s pride and joy. Whenever Sean was playing sports or participating in any of the many local youth activities, John could be found on the sidelines coaching t-ball, running chains for football, cheering on the team, supporting the fundraiser of the day, etc., etc. He just loved being there for his son, his friends, and his community.
John was a devout Catholic his whole life and a Lector at Our Lady of The Redwoods Church in Garberville. He loved coming together for purpose and always rose to the occasion to help out when needed. One of his favorite events each year was the Redwood Games, the local Special Olympics. He received an award this past summer from them for his 18 years of dedication to the program.
He also enjoyed spending time at Community Cornerstone and was honored to have the opportunity to play Santa there. John enjoyed entering the annual Flower Show in Weott and hanging out with the ladies of the Garden Club. He could annually be found at the Salmon Creek Community School auction as the auctioneer. He also enjoyed being part of the Watt’s Happening Power Crew at the Black Oak Ranch. John always loved his Harleys and enjoyed all of his biker friends. Whether they were riding for a cause or just for fun, he rarely missed an opportunity to be with this great group of people. He enjoyed the Redwood Run most years, both as an attendee and as a volunteer for different organizations. The biker family in Southern Humboldt was dear to his heart, as was everyone he called a friend.
Those wishing to make donations in John’s name should choose one of his favorite organizations- Community Cornerstone, local youth sports organizations, or Booster Club. John was always a generous man and will be missed by many far and near.
Cards for the family can be sent to PO Box 723 Miranda, Ca 95553.
Mass for John will be held on February 4th at 11:00 am at Our Lady of the Redwoods Church in Garberville. A reception will follow about 1:00 pm in Miranda at Stevens Hall with a potluck lunch.