James Sweeney

James “Jim” E. Sweeney, 69, of Waukon, went home to be with his Lord and Savior, Thursday, August 8, 2019 at Methodist Hospital in Rochester, MN. Funeral services were held Tuesday, August 13 at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Waukon, with Fr. Mark Osterhaus officiating. Burial with military honors took place at Mt. Olivet Cemetery, Waukon. Memorials may be given to Veterans Memorial Hospital in Waukon, St. Patrick Church Restoration Fund, or St. Patrick School in his memory.

James Edward “Jim” Sweeney was born December 17, 1949 in Waukon to Ray and Monica (Burke) Sweeney. He attended a one-room country school until eighth grade and graduated in 1968 from St. Patrick School in Waukon. After high school he enlisted in the military and served in Vietnam, where he received the Bronze Star for his service. He later served in the National Guard, in the Medical Unit in Madison, WI, until resigning his commission as 2nd Lieutenant in 1979.

He attended college at NIACC in Mason City and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville in 1976 where he received the Outstanding Agriculture Student of the Year Award. He married Margo White May 24, 1975 at St. Patrick Church in Waukon. With this union he had four beautiful children.

Jim spent his career in finance, starting at PCA in Darlington, WI as an intern and serving the company as a loan officer and then Branch Manager in Dyersville, where they lived for seven years, making friendships that have lasted a lifetime. He and the family moved back to Waukon in 1983 where he worked for a short time for Leadfree Enterprises before he was recruited as Senior Vice President of Waukon State Bank, which was then a branch of Hawkeye Bancorporation. He was very instrumental in bringing the bank back to local ownership by seeking Waukon businessmen as investors, two of which were himself and his father, Ray E. Sweeney.

He started and opened Viking State Bank & Trust in Decorah in 1996 and later merged the banks together. Jim served as President and CEO of these banks until he retired in 2015. He loved being a small community banker and had the gift of being a visionary. He remained CEO and Chairman of the Board until his death.

Jim was very proud of his hometown and served in many different areas of the community including Allamakee Housing, WEDC, Hospital Capital Campaign, Allamakee County School Board, and St. Patrick School Board. At his church he taught CCD, was involved in CEW as Lay Director, and was active in the Worldwide Marriage Encounter. He was also a member of the VFW and was privileged to be on the honor guard.

In 1993 he moved his family to a farm near Waterville, where he enjoyed raising calves, horses and his prized Percheron horses, Jim and Bob. They provided wonderful memories of sleigh riding in the winter and wagon rides in the summer. He loved his time hobby farming until moving back to Waukon in 2003.

Jim had a love of traveling and was always in search of a new adventure when he returned home. He took his family on many camping adventures throughout the country, cherishing time spent with his family. He and Margo enjoyed trips around the world. One of his fondest memories was taking a private charter boat with friends down in the Virgin Islands and returning 29 years later to Co-Captain a charter boat. He loved spending time in Florida for the last 14 years and in the summer enjoyed being on the water at Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.

His greatest love and joy was his family, serving his customers at Waukon State Bank, and meeting new people. He had a talent for remembering people and their names. He enjoyed racquetball, golf, bridge, euchre, boating and making memories with his family and friends. He was devoted to his wife and children and enjoyed being PaPa to his 11 grandchildren. He was so proud of each and every one of them.

Jim is survived by his wife, Margo; his children, Jennifer (Jeremy) Fahey of Decorah, Nicole (Ted) Pladsen of Cedar Rapids, and Justin (Regan) Sweeney and Gina (Jeremy) Curtin, both of Waukon; his grandchildren: Madilyn, Olivia and Sophia Fahey, Andrew, Isabella and Lillian Pladsen, Stella, Scarlet and Evelyn Sweeney, and Cecelia and James Curtin; his 10 siblings: Jan (Lorraine), Joe (Judy), Jerry, Jeff (Penny) and Jake (Beth) Sweeney, all of Waukon, Jane (Steve) Johanningmeier of Waterville, Julie (Curt) Fisk of Monona, Joan (Kevin) Manning of Mabel, MN, Judy (Randy) Lubahn of Winona, MN and Jean Ann (Brian) Dillman of Prairie du Chien, WI; his aunts, Darlene (Andy) Anderson and Evelyn Burke, both of Waukon; and many nieces, nephews and other relatives.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Ray and Monica Sweeney; infant siblings John, Mary and Rose; his nephews, Jef White, Jason Johanningmeier, Patrick Fisk and Nicholas Manning; and many aunts and uncles.

His wife Margo said, “It has been an honor and privilege to be with Jim on this adventure for the last 44 years. When he was diagnosed with this disease he said he had lived a wonderful life and he lived the next three years with courage and strength, never asking why or complaining of his circumstance. Jim was my hero, my encourager, my rock, my caretaker, my partner in life and my love for these 44 years and he will always live in my heart.”

Casketbearers were Jerry Sweeney, Jeff Sweeney, Pat McMillan, Jon Volkens, Randy Murphy, Mark Waldron, Noah Manning, Peter Fisk and Drew Hager. Jim’s grandchildren will serve as honorary casketbearers.

Online condolences may be left at www.martinfunerals.com.
 

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