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Russell William "Bill" Sweeney Jr.


1940 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Russell William "Bill" Sweeney Jr. Obituary
Russell William "Bill" Sweeney Jr.

75, of Fortville, IN, passed away peacefully on May 17, 2016, surrounded by his family, following complications from pneumonia. Bill was born to Russell William and Margaret (Derrick) Sweeney on September 24, 1940. Bill married the love of his life, Bonnie Martin, on September 12, 1970.

Bill grew up in Cincinnati, graduating from St. Xavier H.S. and Xavier University prior to commissioning as a Second Lieutenant in the Adjutant General Corps in the U.S. Army. His 30-year career included a tour in Vietnam and assignments in England, Germany, France, California, Chicago, Virginia, and Battalion Command of the 14th Battalion at Fort Jackson, SC, culminating as the Garrison Commander at Fort Ben Harrison, IN. Following his military retirement in 1993, he worked with the 500 Festival Committee and then spent 10+ years as the Executive Director of the Indiana War Memorials in Indianapolis, IN. Following his retirement from the War Memorial, he stayed active in serving the military and veterans in the Indianapolis community by his involvement with AUSA, the American Red Cross, and the Indianapolis Veterans Day Council. He is a graduate of Central Michigan University, the Command and General Staff College, and the US Army War College. He is also a recipient of the Maude Award.

Bill is survived by Bonnie and their daughters, LTC (ret) Elizabeth Sweeney, her husband LTC Michael Parsons, and Melissa Sweeney and her husband Tim Smith, as well as three granddaughters, Meridian, Ember, and Iris Parsons. He is also survived by his sister Patricia Sweeney Rohs, his brothers John Sweeney and Dan Sweeney, and a wonderful extended family. He was pre-deceased by his parents and his granddaughter, Amelia Merritt Parsons.

More than the accomplishments and legacy outlined above, Bill is remembered and treasured for his steel-trap mind, his sense of humor, and his ability to make anything fun. He gifted his children the sound of a flock of Canada geese honking over a quiet dawn on the Chesapeake Bay, the thrill of a taut sail skimming the water, a love of adventure, an appreciation of folk music, storytelling and for subtle and random acts of irreverence and mischief, his love of the water and the outdoors, his example of service to Country, and his courage in living and in dying. He is remembered for his sourdough pancakes, his sweet tooth, his stories, and his colorful "Billisms" best summarized by his saying that "there is no-inappropriate word in the English language as long as it is used appropriately." Memorial contributions can be made to The American Red Cross, 1510 N. Meridian Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202 and the LTG Timothy Maude Foundation, 3521 S Four Mile Run Dr., Arlington, VA 22206-2311. There will be a Celebration of Bill's life Wednesday, May 25, 2016, 2 PM Pershing Auditorium, Indiana War Memorial, 431 N. Meridian St., Indianapolis, IN. At a later date his ashes will be interred at Arlington National Cemetery. Condolences at hodappfuneralhome.com
Published in the The Indianapolis Star on May 22, 2016
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