James Michael Sweetman
March 14, 1944 – January 9, 2021
James Michael Sweetman, a man of extraordinary character, who lived a life in service to God, family, and country, died peacefully on Saturday at his home in Omaha, Nebraska.
Jim, 76, served as an intelligence officer in the United States Navy for twenty years including two tours of duty in Vietnam where he earned a bronze star for valor in combat. He continued his Navy career with stations at Pearl Harbor, the Pentagon, Virginia Beach and the Strategic Air Command in Omaha. He patrolled the seas all over the globe in defense of his country aboard the USS Forrestal and USS Shreveport before retiring in 1988. Jim spoke very little of his military career but recalled fondly a return mission to Vietnam to escort home a POW, Bill Tschudy, and reunite him with his wife and young son.
Jim was an accomplished pianist capable of playing a complex piece from memory, or picking up a sheet of music and flawlessly playing a new tune. When he wasn’t visiting grandchildren or on the links, he could often be found entertaining friends at parties with his musical gifts. Always a servant, Jim offered his musical talents to the community by singing in the church choir and with friends in a barbershop quartet, “Yesterday’s Kids”.
His service to the Church went far beyond music and sprung from a deep devotion to his faith. Jim prayed the Rosary daily, volunteered his time at Boys Town, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus. Most importantly, he was a beacon of principle and morality and an embodiment of Christ’s love for us all.
Jim was born in Canton, South Dakota in 1944. He was a multi-sport athlete at Canton High before attending St. John’s University (MN), where his father, John, had also studied (and where his 5 children later graduated). After college he worked in the Twin Cities and attended William Mitchell Law School in the evenings for one year before deciding to join the Navy ahead of the draft. While in the Navy, he went on to earn a Masters in Human Resource Management from Pepperdine University.
Jim is survived by Mary, his loving wife of 49 years; three older sisters whom he adored; daughter, Julie Hollowell; sons: John, Michael, Thomas, and Patrick; twelve grandchildren, the youngest of whom is his namesake.
Visitation: Thursday January 14, 2021, 10:00-11:00AM, Mary Our Queen Catholic Church followed by Mass of Christian Burial, 11:00AM. Interment, Thursday, January 14, 2021, 1:00PM, Omaha National Cemetery with Military rites by Benson VFW Post 2503. Memorial contributions may be made to Wounded Warriors or Catholic Charities.