{ "" }
Share ALISON's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share

ALISON SWEET, Nantucket attorney and community leader died this past Sunday.
Alison Sweet Zieff died at home on Nantucket on Sunday, April 25, 2010, after a long illness at the age of 46.
Born July 2, 1963 in PA, Alison grew up in Radnor PA, graduating from the Shipley School in 1981. She attended Duke University, earning an A.B. in 1985; she remained an avid supporter of the Blue Devils throughout her life and relished their victory in the 2010 NCAA Men's Basketball Championship. Alison attended Boston University School of Law, where she edited the Annual Review of Banking Law; she graduated cum laude in 1989. It was at Boston University that Alison met her husband, David Zieff, with whom she maintained a characteristically fierce competition over grades. She consistently outperformed him.
Alison and David were married on Nantucket on September 16, 1989, during a torrential rain-storm and honeymooned in Thailand. Shortly afterward, she was admitted to the Massachusetts Bar and began working as an associate in the real estate department at Palmer & Dodge, LLP in Boston. In 1996, she moved to Nantucket with her growing family and worked at Vaughan, Dale, & Hunter, P.C. until 2003, when she was hired as an associate at Sarah F. Alger, P.C., where she worked until her death. She was a member of the Nantucket Bar Association and the Nantucket Women's Bar Association.
Alison was an active member of the Nantucket community, where she served in various capacities as a dedicated volunteer, especially within the educational arena. She was a board member and clerk of the Nantucket New School; past president of the board of the Children's House on Nantucket and member of the principal search committee at Nantucket High School. Additionally, Alison was a dedicated supporter of Nantucket Student Soccer Association.
At the center of Alison's rich life were her husband David and their 3 children, Katelyn Dougherty Zieff, Joseph "Jojo" Jerry Sweet Zieff and Benjamin Herman Zieff. She followed their every milestone and considerable academic achievement with love and pride and was an avid fan of their various sports teams and extracurricular activities. Those close to Alison know that she was never without a loving anecdote about David or one of her three marvelous children, and that she was able to laugh easily and heartily about the daily joys and challenges of parenthood and family life. The Zieff family's reputation as a colorfully close-knit clan is a lasting testament to Alison's singularly humble, but un-waveringly fierce commitment to her family. Alison began calling her father "Rocks" after he accidentally sailed his boat onto the jetties in Nantucket harbor. The name was a symbol not only of the self-deprecating humor they shared, but also of his place as the firm foundation for her family and the close bond he shared with his grandchildren. She also loved her sister, Lizzie, dearly, and looked forward always to spending holidays with her family, especially her three children. David's family was also dear to Alison, and their love and care were ever-present throughout her life.
Alison's interests beyond her family were many and varied and she approached each with zeal and a good-natured competitiveness for which many will remember her. She loved to travel and was a talented tennis and paddle tennis player and a confident skier. She was an avid reader and a long-time participant in a women's book group. Although she was a notoriously bad cook, she was a regular host of cookouts, pot-luck dinners and impromptu gatherings of her children and their many friends and neighbors. Alison enjoyed the loving company and care of her "Lifestyle Management Team" throughout her illness. Her family is eternally grateful for their unflinching love and support.
Alison will be remembered especially for her mischievous humor, quick wit, remarkable persistence, unwavering loyalty, dogged determination, genuine humility, imposing intelligence and impossibly curly, beautiful hair.
In addition to her husband and 3 children, Alison is survived by her father, Kenneth Stuart Sweet and her step-mother, Mary Sweet of Haverford PA; and her sister, Elizabeth Sweet Harvey, and her husband Scott Harvey and their children, Lilly, Jake and Camilla of Concord MA. Alison was pre-deceased by her mother Carol Anne Sweet.
Services will be held at the Unitarian Church on Nantucket, 11 Orange St., at 11 A.M., on Saturday, May 1. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Nantucket New School, 15 Nobadeer Farm Rd., Nantucket MA 02554.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in Philadelphia Inquirer/Philadelphia Daily News on Apr. 30, 2010.
Memories & Condolences
Not sure what to say?
3 entries
May 3, 2010
Dear David and family, It is a joy to read about Allison, thank you for posting the piece. I can't imagine how hard things are for you guys now and recently. I send you my love and best wishes for the strength to carry on. I hope that the joy and trials of raising your wonderful children will help keep the love you have for each other alive and her spirit with you. Mostly I hope that you will get as much rest as you can in the coming days and months. Please try to take care of yourself. It makes me feel overwhelmingly happy and thankful to be alive, in-spite of the annoying kids in this house camped in front of the TV. Know that we are and will be thinking of you. Much love to you, Jane Hysen, Jim Grow et al from Berzerkely
May 3, 2010
David -
We met with my children several years ago when we came to Nantucket - I am terribly sorry for your loss- Alison was a very kind person. Her death saddens all who knew even if we had not been in touch or extremely close - She was someone we were all proud to know. She was admired by her high school friends scattered all over the country and she will be missed by anyone who had the fortune to get to know her .- Jennifer Field Nicaud , Pass Christian, MS
Jennifer Nicaud
April 30, 2010
Dear David, Katelyn,Jo-Jo, and Ben,
I am so sorry to hear about Allison. I had no idea... Despite the fact that I cannot be there with you, I send my spirit and heartfelt condolences. I am sending along this poem and although this is terribly hard I hope it reminds you that a body is a vessel and although Allison/Mom is not physically there with her , you know her fierce spirit is and will forever be right by your side, right by her family as she has always been.
With Much Love,

Letter from Heaven

To my dearest family, some things I'd like to say...

but first of all, to let you know, that I arrived okay.

I'm writing this from heaven. Here I dwell with God above.

Here, there's no more tears of sadness; here is just eternal love.

Please do not be unhappy just because I'm out of sight.

Remember that I'm with you every morning, noon and night.

That day I had to leave you when my life on earth was through,

God picked me up and hugged me and He said, "I welcome you."

It's good to have you back again; you were missed while you were gone.

As for your dearest family, they'll be here later on.

I need you here badly; you're part of my plan.

There's so much that we have to do, to help our mortal man."

God gave me a list of things, that he wished for me to do.

And foremost on the list, was to watch and care for you.

And when you lie in bed at night, the day's chores put to flight.

God and I are closest to the middle of the night.

When you think of my life on earth, and all those loving years

because you are only human, they are bound to bring you tears.

But do not be afraid to cry; it does relieve the pain.

Remember there would be no flowers, unless there was some rain.

I wish that I could tell you all that God has planned.

But if I were to tell you, you wouldn't understand.

But one thing is for certain, though my life on earth is o'er.

I'm closer to you now, than I ever was before.

There are many rocky roads ahead of you and many hills to climb;

but together we can do it by taking one day at a time.

It was always my philosophy and I'd like it for you too...

that as you give unto the world, the world will give to you.

If you can help somebody who's in sorrow and pain,

then you can say to God at night......"My day was not in vain."

And now I am contented....that my life has been worthwhile,

knowing as I passed along the way, I made somebody smile.

So if you meet somebody who is sad and feeling low,

just lend a hand to pick him up, as on your way you go.

When you're walking down the street, and you've got me on your mind;

I'm walking in your footsteps only half a step behind.

And when it's time for you to go.... from that body to be free,

remember you're not're coming here to me.


Ruth Ann Mahaffey
Cyndi Rubinoff-Myers
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences