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Stephen Edward Sweeney, 79

Help us celebrate the life of Steve Sweeney! Saturday, September 16, 2023 fro 4 to 7 PM at Lenox Community Center with a Eulogy at 6:30 PM. A light meal will be provided . . . We’ll bring the Budweiser, BYOB if you prefer something else. In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requests memorials be directed to the Lenox Community Trust. Memories may be shared with the family at under Obituaries. Arrangements were entrusted to the Ritchie Funeral Home of Lenox where we ‘Celebrate Life’.
Stephen Edward Sweeney, 79, died peacefully at home on September 5, 2023, with his wife by his side. Cancer stole him from us too soon, with so many stories left to be told.
Born October 8, 1943 to Frank and Ellen (Leahy) Sweeney, Steve was the youngest and self-proclaimed favorite – of their 11 children. He attended school in Conway until his freshman year, when the family moved to Lenox; he earned his high school degree in 1962. Curious by nature, Steve loved learning, just not in the classroom. He was very well-read and took great delight in discovering anything new. For Steve, the internet was both a blessing and a curse. Robert Morris hired Steve in the summer of 1962. That began a friendship with Robert and his brothers, Hal Dean and Kenneth, that lasted all their lives. It was the perfect combination of learning, hard work, and laughter. Steve was drafted into the Army in 1965 and served two years, fortunately stationed in the Dominican Republic, away from real danger. Upon returning home to Lenox, he started farming on his own with help from Robert. On February 20, 1971, he married Sandy Sheridan. They made their home in Lenox where they raised their three children: Mendy, Molly, and Josh. These kids were the pride of their lives. The back lot was a playground for all of them. Much to Steve’s delight (and Sandy’s dismay), there was an array of dangerous, motorized “toys” at the little hellions’ disposal – and he was known to join in on the fun.
As they grew up, Steve encouraged the kids in their pursuits. Many “happy
hours” were spent on the phone when they would call to shoot the breeze or ask his advice. A lot of life’s problems could be solved over a Budweiser or two. In 1975, Steve bought his first dozer. He made his career and his reputation as a CAT man, adding more equipment throughout his 50 years in the business. He considered it a privilege to improve the land he worked on, which also allowed him to provide for his family. He proclaimed the Basler pond the most beautiful structure he ever built.
In 2002, Lauren came along, giving him a new title: Grampa. Her arrival meant new motorized toys and new adventures for all. “You’ll need a passport and a bathing suit.” In 2010, their buddy Bob Ryan asked if they wanted to go on a mystery trip. They didn’t know what it meant, but it sure sounded like fun. Over 12 years, the “Mystery 6” (Ryans, Baslers, and Sweeneys) followed Bob’s clues and were able to see everything from Cuba to the Catacombs. Thanks, Bob!
In all the cars Steve owned, the slowest one was by far his favorite. In 2011,
Steve’s fully restored 1929 Model A Ford was ready to hit the back roads. Many “A” trips ensued, and many new friends were made along the way. There isn’t a Casey’s in the state of Iowa that the group hasn’t visited.
Upon learning the devastating diagnosis that his cancer had spread, Steve’s team of misfit mechanics – including his wife, kids, and best friends – helped get his equipment ready for the retirement auction. You should have seen the smile on Steve’s face when the last dozer was driven down the hill.
Steve is known far and wide for his hearty laugh and sense of humor. He has never met a stranger, and you knew he was listening when you spoke. There was always a twinkle in his eye, and he could bring a story back around at just the right time. When Steve would throw his head back for a belly laugh, grab his chest and stomp his foot, we knew we were in for a story and with any luck, it involved Toby. The legacy of Steve’s storytelling will be carried on by his wife Sandy, his daughters Mendy and Molly (Greg), son Josh (Deva), granddaughter Lauren, as well as extended family and too many friends to count. He is predeceased by his parents, his sisters Margaret Sweeney, Florence Robinson, Maureen Walton, Mary Evans, Catherine Rainforth, Frances Myers, Carol Steininger, and his brothers Bill, George, and Hubert Sweeney.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

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