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Candler - Paul Joseph Sweeney rode his last curtain call Thursday, May 15, 2014, at the John F. Keever Hospice Solace Center after a long fight with cancer.
He was born June 18, 1944, in San Francisco, CA, to the late Joseph and Roberta Sweeney. At a young age, he moved to Los Altos, CA, in what is now known as the "Silicon Valley" to be close to his grandparents who were among the first to plant fruit orchards in that fertile area.
Paul was a graduate of Wabash College and Indiana University, where he received his master's degree in theatrical scenic design. Following college, he came to Asheville where he enjoyed a 20 year tenure as an associate professor of theatrical design and technology at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. He was honored with the founders award in 1992 as the educator of the year by the United States Institute of Theatre Technology, Southeast Regional Section.
For every summer from 1974 to 1994, Paul took great pride in being the scenic and lighting designer for the Opera Workshop at the Brevard Music Center where he designed critically acclaimed scenery for over 100 operas and musicals.
As a member of St. Joan of Arc parish since 1973, Paul was devoted to his faith and his parish community. He served in many capacities, including that of a member of the parish pastoral council and as a lector.
Surviving him are his beloved wife of 44 years, Guillermina Martinez Sweeney; their son, Randall Sweeney, and his wife Lexie, and their children Benjamin and Rosalyn, of Philadelphia, PA; their son, William Sweeney, and his wife Cameron Wilson, of Moscow, ID; their daughter, Deborah Sweeney, and her daughter, Katherine, of Charlotte, NC; and a special goddaughter, Melissa Guerrero of Asheville. He is also survived by his brother, John Sweeney and his family, of Northfield, VT, and cousin Betty Denno and her family, of Merced, CA.
The family will hold a prayer service Wednesday, May 21st, at 7:00 PM at Groce Funeral Home on Patton Avenue, followed by a time where friends will be received. A funeral mass will be held at 10:00 AM on Thursday, May 22nd, at St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, followed by a short graveside service at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church, 768 Asbury Rd., Candler, NC 28715; or to CarePartners Hospice and Palliative Care, P.O. Box 25338, Asheville, NC 28813.
The online register is available at www.grocefuneralhome.com.
Groce Funeral Home at Lake Julian
1401 Patton Avenue
Asheville, NC 28806
Published in the Asheville Citizen-Times from May 17 to May 20, 2014