Francis H. Sweeney of Thorndale
Francis H. Sweeney, age 84 of Thorndale, died peacefully at the Coatesville VA Medical Center Hospice Unit from complications of COPD on Tuesday, October 10, 2017. Francis was the son of the late Cornelius and Anna Sweeney and the husband of the late Agnes McKay Sweeney.
Born in 1932, Francis grew up in West Philadelphia’s Mantua section and attended St. Agatha’s Parish School. He left high school early in 1949 to work and to join the National Guard and in January of 1952, signed up in the US Army, where he completed paratrooper training and spent 13 months, 13 days of his three-year enlistment in the Korean War zone.
On his return to civilian life in 1955, Francis completed the printing apprenticeship he had started prior to his military service and worked as a typesetter. He met Agnes shortly after and they married in Norristown in 1957. The couple moved to Philadelphia around 1961; for the next 25 years, they raised their family on Gerhard Street in Roxborough as parishioners of St. John the Baptist, Manayunk. For the past 31 years, they resided in Thorndale, Chester County. They were married 60 years.
Francis completed the high school education he began at St. Tommy More the year the school closed in 1975, claiming to be its last graduate with a Golden Bear diploma on his wall. He earned a B.A. in English from La Salle College in 1981 and was active with the Irish Center in Mt. Airy including the Donegal Society, veteran groups and charity work with the Knights of Columbus. He organized the Philadelphia Feis from 1972-1975, an Irish stepdancing competition held on the Chestnut Hill College campus.
Francis spent fifteen years at Bricklin Press and was featured on the cover of the October 7, 1977 edition of the Jewish Exponent newspaper as Philadelphia’s only Irish-Catholic Hebrew typesetter. The business closed in 1978 but thanks to the help of his friend Bill Weber, Francis jointed GE Aerospace’s Management and Data Systems organization in King of Prussia in 1980, where he worked as an editor until his retirement in 1997
Francis is survived by his five children Michael (Patricia), Neil (Teresa), Nora Sweeney (Jim Sharp), Maureen Sweeney and Christine Richardson and his sister Anna (Alfred) Campbell. He is also survived by his grandchildren Michael Sweeney, Kelsey Richardson, Frances Sweeney, Megan Sweeney, Luke Richardson and Sophie Sharp. Francis was predeceased by his wife Agnes in May and also by his sisters Mary Sweeney, Betty (George) Ford, brothers Cornelius and Michael and a half-brother James Craig.
Family Visitation and a Mass of Christian Burial celebrating his life will be held on Monday, October 16, 2017 at St. Joseph Church on 332 Manor Avenue in Downingtown with the Rev. Monsignor Joseph McLoone presiding. Friends may call from 10 to 11:15 AM with Mass to follow at 11:30 AM. Interment is private. Funeral arrangements are by James Terry Funeral Home of Downingtown.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory can be made to: St. Joseph’s House, 640 Buck Run Road, East Fallowfield, PA 19320