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Jean Blackledge Sweeney, BSN, 82, of Tequesta, FL died on Wednesday, November 16th, following her private battle with progressive supranuclear palsy, an uncommon and burdensome neurological disease.
Jean passed in the comfort of her home, surrounded by her treasured husband of 61 years Jack Sweeney, her loving children, son J.P. Sweeney and wife Davida, daughter Jean Sweeney-McHale and husband Michael McHale, caring grandchildren, and attentive care givers. Jack notes that 61 years of marriage hardly felt like enough time together, but, then again, neither would another 61 years.
On January 23rd, 1940, Jean entered the world alongside her twin sister Mary to John and Mary Blackledge in Scranton, PA. Though Jean was five minutes younger than Mary, she regularly assumed the role as oldest to all her siblings – continuously setting an example from which they could follow.
She is survived by her siblings, twin sister Mary and husband Bill Kelly of Severna Park, MD, brother Jack Blackledge and wife Eileen of Scranton, brother Don Blackledge and wife Sally of Dalton, and sister Carol Ann Hartnett of Kingston, MA.
After graduating from Scranton Central High School, Jean enrolled in Pennsylvania State School of Nursing, where she became a Registered Nurse. She began her career as a pediatrics nurse at New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City – an experience she’d often and fondly reminisce about with her grandchildren. She later served as an occupational health care nurse at Haddon Craftsmen in Scranton, PA.
June 30th, 1962 marks perhaps the most pivotal day in Jean’s 82 years on earth – the day she married Jack Sweeney at Holy Rosary Church in Scranton. Their wedding day was shared with Jean’s twin sister Mary and her husband Bill Kelly. The legendary “double wedding” featured identical wedding gowns, and was one of Jean’s absolute favorite stories.
Jean and Jack soon became parents to J.P. in 1963 and Jeannie in 1964. The young family relocated from New York City to each other’s native Scranton. Back in their hometown, Jean and Jack quickly established themselves – together – as community leaders, serving on countless local boards and organizations.
At the core of Jean’s being was a deep appreciation not only for her cherished family, but also of the quality education available to us in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Jean deeply believed in fairness and took seriously the expectation to serve others – especially if it meant helping to provide a valuable education to someone who might not otherwise have that opportunity.
She often referenced a quote from the Gospel of Luke: “to whom much is given, much is expected in return” (Luke 12:48). Her impact in the community is still felt, as dozens of students from both Marywood University and the University of Scranton benefitted from her generosity as recipients of several endowed scholarships to receive their own nursing degree.
She loved her family, she loved entertaining, and she loved making sure her i’s were dotted and her t’s were crossed. She never missed a birthday or anniversary, and was sure to regularly check in with loved ones, beginning, always, with her trademark “now tell me…”
Jean is predeceased by her parents, John and Mary Blackledge and her brother-in-law Edward Hartnett.
She is survived by her husband Jack Sweeney, son J.P. and wife Davida Sweeney of Dunmore, and their children, Kathleen Sweeney Bergan and husband Michael of Milton, MA, J. Patrick Sweeney and wife Elizabeth of Palos Park, IL, Marc Sweeney of Scranton, Maeve Sweeney of Washington, D.C., and Meg Sweeney of Scranton; Jean Sweeney-McHale and husband Michael McHale of Dunmore, and their daughters Margaret and fiancé Michael Lotito of Mamaroneck, NY and Abigail of New York City, NY; great-grandchildren Cecelia Jean and Frances Lourdes Bergan of Milton, MA; and nieces, nephews, and cousins.
The funeral will be Tuesday from the Carlucci-Golden-DeSantis Funeral Home, Inc. 318 East Drinker Street in Dunmore with Mass of Christian Burial at 11 a.m. in St. Paul’s Church, 1510 Penn Ave, Scranton. Interment to follow in the Cathedral Cemetery in Scranton.
Friends may visit Monday 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the funeral home.
To offer the family an online condolence, please visit www.DunmoreFuneralHome.com