Jean Sweeney Passes Away; Friends And Family Celebrate Her Life

By KBJR News 1

March 26, 2013 Updated Mar 27, 2013 at 11:12 AM CDT

Superior, MN (NNCNOW.com) - After firefighters extinguished the flames at 53 Billings Drive in Superior on Monday, fire crews located the remains of Jean Sweeny, a woman that made an impact hundreds in her community.

Today loved ones gathered to remember the friend with whom they shared so much...and whom they say shared so much of herself with them.

Defining a person's life is not something that can be summed up with one word or even an hour of conversation with loved ones.

"She was Jean Meyers before she was Jean Sweeney." Monica Tikkanen, a friend, said.

Some of those single words included colorful, fashionable, and leader.

But for those who knew Jean Sweeney most, they begin every story with a deep breath...and a smile.

"She had a great deal of energy and effervescence. I don't think she changed that energy level...I don't think she changed that energy level even into her 70's," Tikkanen said.

The 76 year-old passed away on Monday during the fire that destroyed her home, but Sweeney lives on in the people who knew her well... and even...just a little.

Sweeney worked at the Superior High School as an English teacher and in the vocal music department until she retired in 1996 to take care of her husband who was ill at the time.

Sweeney was widowed nearly a decade ago and though she was without children, those who knew her say she was far from lonely.

"Extremely closely close to her aunts," Dennis Arras, a cousin, said.

Family members recall Sweeney remembering all of the names of her of cousins, nieces and nephews, which are in the dozens.

"She loved the symphony. She had tickets for 32 years," Kathleen Moder, a niece, said.

For many years, Sweeney was the hand bell choir director at the Pilgrim Lutheran Church.

Her enthusiasm and keen ear for sound is remembered by her students and fellow co–workers.

"She was one of the church council members here. That's the governing group for the church," Rev. Mowchan, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, said.

The church pastor says Sweeney was able to connect with people of all ages.

"Whatever she did she, like I said, she did with enthusiasm. She did it to serve other people. It was never about her," Mowchan said.

Mowchan says the woman who was recently having health troubles had no problem staying aware of progress in the world and reflecting that upon others.

Funeral arrangements have not yet been scheduled for Jean Sweeney.

Superior fire fighters say the cause of the fire is not yet known, but an investigation is ongoing.

Justin Reis, NNC.
jreis@kbjr.com