John P. “Jack” Sweeney, 70, Watertown

WATERTOWN, NY —  John Paul “Jack” Sweeney passed away June 20, 2021, surrounded by all of those he held so dear to his heart. He fought a long, hard, brave battle without one complaint. He was always more concerned about everyone else around him.

Known to many as “Happy Jack”, he was an avid SU lacrosse fan, and never missed a game. His wardrobe consisted of every SU Lacrosse t-shirt and sweatshirt known to man. He recently began sporting a St. Lawrence sweatshirt and was so proud of it! (His grandson’s college in the fall). He loved his family, his wife Fran, his country, the Red Sox, serving others and fiercely loved his two grandchildren, Jacob Matthew and Lauren Elizabeth. He was a chicken wing connoisseur, and enjoyed a good German beer with his son, Brian.

Jack was a volunteer throughout the community, and would give selflessly to anyone in need. He was a member of the American Legion and The Eagles Club.

He loved to travel and especially enjoyed many trips all over the east coast following SU lacrosse.

He was a well known wedding photographer, and you would rarely see him without his Nikon camera around his neck. He took pictures of everything, and cherished every single photo. He loved to surprise people with beautiful photos he had taken of them.

Jack made the best relish, and would send it to friends and family all over the United States. His favorite place was the Adirondacks. He was a family man, and never missed a school concert/event, gathering, birthday or holiday with his family. His laughter was contagious, and he could light up a room in seconds. He was a friend to everyone and if you knew Jack, you loved Jack. He had the gift of gab, and loved to talk to anyone who would listen. Chances are, he has talked to you!

Born July 23, 1950, in Rutland, VT, the son of John and Catherine Sweeney, Jack was raised in the small town of Fair Haven, Vermont. He was the big brother to four siblings; TC, Donna, Paul and Nancy. Jack took much pride and shined in his role, and there was nothing he wouldn’t do for his beloved siblings.  He was a three season athlete, and graduated from Fair Haven Union High School in 1968.  After graduation, he attended Castleton College. Jack was a worker, and was known for his work ethic and grit.  He worked on many church roofs, steeples and masonry as well as at The Grand Union during high school and college. He was always the life of the party and up for anything (the crazier plan/idea, the better!).

Jack and Fran met at The Grand Union, and were later married in Whitehall, NY on July 12, 1975.  They moved all over the country and settled in Watertown, NY when Jack retired from the US Army.  Jack served his country until he was medically retired in 1985. He then worked as a civilian at Fort Drum until his retirement in 2005.  He received many awards, but the one he was most proud of was “Civilian of the Year”. After retirement, he became a full time “PaPa” to Jacob and Lauren, and would take them on endless adventures in his “buddy mobile”.  He was the best PaPa to his grandchildren, and they loved him so.

Surviving are his wife, Fran Willett Sweeney, Watertown, NY; a son, Brian and Kristin Sweeney, Manlius, NY; a daughter, Erin and Jim Bier, Calcium, NY; 2 grandchildren, Jacob and Lauren Bier, Calcium, NY; three sisters, Nancy (Jim), TC (Hal), Donna (Steve); many nieces, nephews, cousins and extended family members.

The entire family would like to thank Hospice of Jefferson County for the incredible care, compassion and love that they showed during this very difficult time. There are no words to express our gratitude, and we would kindly ask that In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham St. Watertown, NY 13601. Another thing dear to his heart was the South Jeff Backpack Program, Inc.  P.O. Box 49 Adams Center, NY 13606.

A celebration of life will be held in Fair Haven, Vermont from 1 to 5 p.m. July 17, 2021, at The American Legion, 72 S. Main St.  Please come and join us for an afternoon of love, laughter and reminiscing of a life well lived.

Arrangements are with Reed & Benoit Funeral Home, Inc.

Condolences may be made online at