Gary A. Sweaney

1940 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Gary A. Sweaney Obituary

Gary A. Sweaney
June 12, 1940- August 30, 2018

Gary A. Sweaney died on August 30, 2018 surrounded by family, after a brief battle with pneumonia and small cell lung cancer.

Born In Long Beach, CA, on June 12, 1940, Gary was the oldest of eight children born to C.B. and Kathy Sweaney. He spent his childhood living in Taft where he played sports at both Taft High School and Taft College. He is preceded in death by his parents, and three brothers, Randy, Tim, and Jeff.

Once aptly described as a grizzly bear on the outside and a teddy bear on the inside, he loved his family fiercely, even if he didn't always say so out loud. He was very proud and supportive of his children and grandchildren, and was known to brag openly about their adventures and achievements, but only if he thought they couldn't hear him. Gary was also known to be quite a teaser, so you had to develop thick skin to appreciate him. He was the ultimate mentor and role model. He would demonstrate what to do and what NOT to do always saying, "Do what I say not what I do!" He instilled great work ethic in all of his kids because "Anything worth doin' is worth doin' right."

Gary was a smart, opinionated man, renown for his quick, and sometimes inappropriate, wit. He completed a crossword puzzle every day, without the assistance of Google or the internet. He never met a stranger and loved to talk about family, sports, cars, racing, music, and politics. Gary really had a soft spot for children, and was always a very charitable and giving person.

Once known for being a great cook, Gary spent the last several years enjoying most meals at various Bakersfield eateries. His favorite, by far, was Moo Creamery where he ate nearly every day. The staff there became his "Moo kids" and he loved hearing about their lives and sharing his humor with them. Next time you're there have a Bananas Foster milkshake (with rum) or Chuuurch beer in Gary's honor!

Gary worked for the Kern County Fire Department as a firefighter and engineer. After serving 23 years he decided it was better to run away from burning buildings rather than toward them, and promptly retired.

In his retirement Gary enjoyed watching sports, especially those his grandchildren were playing. He also tinkered with a 1940 Ford pickup in his garage, spending far more on parts than the truck is probably worth, but his kids said it kept him out of trouble!

Gary is survived by his daughter Dana Becker (Mike), and sons Todd (Dana), Brian (Joni), and Shawn Burke (Rhonda); grandchildren Kevin and Allison Becker, Tyler and Ryder Sweaney, Danielle and Haydn Sweaney, and Bailey and Taylor Burke; sister Judy Hall (Bob), brothers, Stan (Pam), Greg ,and Scott Sweaney; and numerous nieces, nephews, and friends who will all miss him and his humor dearly.

A celebration of Gary's life will be held at 4:00 p.m. on Friday, September 21st. Please join us at the Kern County Firefighters Union Hall if you have a story you'd like to share about Gary.

Published in Bakersfield Californian on Sept. 16, 2018
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