In Memory

Jonathan Sweet

Jonathan Fuller Sweet, 57, Omaha, NB, Died June 28,2002, at Omaha. Mr. Sweet was born August 20, 1944, in Watseka, the son of Frank and Dorothy Sweet. He spent his childhood in Watseka. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan and Drake Universities and was a correspondent for United Press International in Des Moines, IA before being drafted into the army. He served in Vietnam where he was awarded a Bronze Star and the Vietnamese Service Medal. Mr. Sweet had been a reporter for UP! and following his journalism career, he was appointed Director of Veteran Affairs for Nebraska. In that position, he was a frequent advocate for veterans. At the time of his death, he was a J.C. Penney Associate. He and his wife Emma were married 34 years ago. She survives along with three sons and two daughters-in-law: Michael and Cathy Sweet, Craig Sweet and Doug and Barb Sweet; five grandchildren; his mother, Dorothy Sweet; a brother and sister-in-law, Bill and Virgie Sweet; a sister and brother-in-law, Ann and Gary Vickery; and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by his father, Frank Sweet, who was a former accountant and business man in Watseka. Cremation rites were accorded. A memorial service was conducted at 7:30 p.m., July 1,2002, at Roeder Mortuary, 4932 Ames Ave., Omaha, NB and private interment services were conducted.

From the National Desk. UPI  Published 6/28/2002:

Jonathan F. Sweet, former director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans Affairs and a longtime reporter for United Press International, has died at the age of 57.
Sweet died Friday of complications following a massive heart attack and quadruple bypass
surgery Wednesday at Immanuel Medical Center.
Sweet was director of the Nebraska Department of Veterans' Affairs from 1991 ~ 1996, serving as the governor's advocate for the state's 169,000 military veterans.
The Vietnam Veterans of America named Sweet it's National Service Representative of the Year
in 1994. Sweet remained active lobbying on veterans issues until his death.
In 1996 Gov. Ben Nelson appointed Sweet as a deputy state labor commissioner. Sweet directed the Job Training of Greater Nebraska Partnership and Safety Standards and Labor Law divisions,
supervising the division directors.
In the mid-1960s. Sweet was hired by UPI to work in the Des Moines, lA, bureau as summer relief. He was hired full-time in Des Moines before being drafted into the Army in 1969. His Vietnam tour in 1969-1970 included assignments with the 199th Light Infantry Brigade and MACV Advisory Team 87.
Sweet served as an Army combat correspondent and adviser to the South Vietnamese Army's 18th Division in Juan Loc. He spent extensive time in Cambodia, where he earned the Bronze Star and Vietnamese Staff Service Medal.
After Vietnam, Sweet returned to the Des Moines UPI bureau and then transferred to the Omaha bureau in December 1971. He was laid off when UPI closed the Omaha bureau in 1991.
"Jon was a terrific journalist - a thorough, careful reporter," said UPI Executive Editor Tobin Beck, who worked for Sweet in Omaha from 1978-1982 and later supervised him as a state and
regional editor. "He was a mentor who taught me much about being a good journalist, and he
was a loyal friend."
Sweet especially was known for his knack of being able to analyze election returns and correctly
project winners well ahead of the competition.
In 1997, Sweet went to work for JC Penney in Omaha as a men's clothing sales associate. He
was honored as top regional salesman shortly before his death.
Sweet was born Aug. 20.1944, in Watseka, IL, the son of Dorothy and Frank Sweet. His mother was a school teacher and his father was an accountant.
He attended Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington and Drake University in Des Moines. He is survived by his wife, Emma, whom he married in 1968; sons Michael, Craig and Doug; and grandchildren Ali, Kathryn, Jennifer, Matthew and Nicolas.

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04/28/12 08:32 PM #1    

Maureen Sampson (Nodruff)

If Jon's family will permit me, I am remembering Jon Sweet when he was little sweet Jon.  Jon and I were kissin' cousins of a type.  His mothers sister was married to my great Uncle Lewis Goetz, that fellow who owned the Chicago Store downtown,  Jon's mother and my mother were friends and I can remember playing at his house and with his younger brother Bill .  I don't know how many remember his mom, but she was probably the most loving and sweet woman I had ever met, just like his little sister Anne. I have a vague recolllection of walking with Susan Bell to the Sweet's house on 4th street---did she take piano lessons from Jon's mother?

  When I was in college at Ill. State I spent some time with Mrs. Sweet; she had come back for summerschool to upgrade her teaching credentials.  Believe it or not, until sometimes in the 1960's a teacher could get certified with 2 years of college; but new laws were forcing the older teachers to go back and finish up.  That was very brave of her.

  I  have a recollection of dancing with Jon at the hops and square dances Mrs. Hamm and Coach Paul Raab would have before basketball games.  I  remember his playing a mean trumpet and maybe playing in a jazz band together. I think I also had a soft spot in my heart for Jon and for Rich Gaines, because they were usually the only guys who would wink at me during  those winkum games in Bell's basement.  I did not forget their kindness in including me.  I also remember I time Jon's aunt and my great aunt (the same person) tried to matchmake and drove us on a date to see a U of I game in Cham/Urbana.  We shared an older cousin by the name of "Punky" Goetz, a handsome guy.  When everyone graduated WCHS we all went our separate ways and I kept track of Jon through my parents and Aunt Esther and Uncle Lewis.    I was so awed to read the memorials about sweet Jon, gone much too soon..  He led an adventurous and giving life, it seems, with many of life's rewards.  But knowing sweet Jon, I am sure the most precious years of his life were spent with his adoring wife and children.  We are all sorry for their loss; it is our loss, too.

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