James Michael Sweetman

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.


  • Phil Schreier Posted January 11, 2021 7:38 pm

    Heartfelt condolences on Jim’s passing. He and the entire family are in our prayers. May he rest in peace.

  • Susan Creagan Posted January 11, 2021 8:06 pm

    Deep sympathy for Mary and all the family. God bless you all. Jim is in our prayers. Dan and Sue Creagan

  • Jan Lanier Posted January 11, 2021 9:20 pm

    My heart goes out to you, Mary, and to your family. Jim obviously led a full life serving his country, family, friends, church and God. I hope you will find comfort in knowing he is resting in God’s loving arms. My deepest sympathy and love to you.

  • Cathy Rosen Posted January 12, 2021 9:46 am

    Mary: Please accept my deepest sympathy. I met Jim only once but was awestruck by his kind persona–it was obvious that you two were meant to be together. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Bob and Kristy Sherwood Posted January 12, 2021 10:28 am

    Jim was a true gentleman , friend. and coworker. Sincere condolences to his family.

  • Mary Goble(Opland) Posted January 12, 2021 3:37 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. I remember Jim from when we lived in Canton , So. Dakota. He was my brother Ron’s age. He was always kind and a dependable person like his mom and dad, John and Maxine. We all attended St Chrystosom’s Catholic in Canton.

  • Lynn and John Aguilar Posted January 12, 2021 3:43 pm

    My sincere thoughts and prayers to Aunt Mary and my cousins. Uncle Jim led an extraordinary life and was very accomplished. So many loving memories of our families together through the years. He is greatly missed. Love to all of you!

  • Kathy Frost Posted January 12, 2021 3:48 pm

    I had the privilege of being Jim’s coworker for seven years. I simply adored him. Much sympathy to his family.

  • Jim Real Posted January 12, 2021 8:45 pm

    Fair winds and following seas.

  • Justin Rosenow Posted January 13, 2021 4:04 pm

    I never met Jim, but if his son’s character and the description of his amazing life are any indicator, I am worse off for it. Heartfelt condolences to your family. Fair winds and following seas sir,

    Justin Rosenow, LCDR USN

  • Carol Kerridge Posted January 13, 2021 9:06 pm

    I send my sincere love, support, and sympathy to Jim’s family for a man who had many talents and a gift of sharing his many values and concern to all.

  • Jim and Jackie DeGaetano Posted January 14, 2021 10:12 am

    We lost a wonderful uncle and the world lost a truly good man. Uncle Jim was kind, thoughtful, accomplished, and fun to be around. He lived his life with integrity and he will be dearly missed. Holding Aunt Mary and our cousins in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. Sending love to all of you. Jim and Jackie DeGaetano

  • Keith L. Gaines Posted January 14, 2021 10:16 am

    My sincerest condolences to your family. Mr. Sweetman and I shared a lot of military memories. I could Always count on him to tell me how he really felt about our profession, life and family! God Speed and I will Always remember the good times, sad times and the time we spent together…Love to you Mr. Sweetman from Mr. Gaines and Family!:)

  • Patricia Yocum Posted January 14, 2021 10:33 am

    I had the pleasure of working with Jim and always greeted me with a warm smile and a word of encouragement. Heaven definitely gained an angel. Thoughts and prayers to his family.

  • John Sibley Posted January 14, 2021 12:14 pm

    To the entire Sweetman family….my deepest condolences for your loss. My memories of Jim are are of a man deeply respected, highly regarded, and of the upmost integrity. Qualities I’m sure everyone who knew him would agree. I’m fortunate to have gotten a chance to know him and for knowing you all. He will be missed, but not forgotten. My thoughts and prayers are with you all!!

    John Sibley

  • suzannehagen Posted January 17, 2021 6:33 pm

    I am so sorry for your loss of a good man and husband, Mary. To all of the Sweetmans: I also send my condolences. I was very fond of Jim. He was kind and strong…and I remember he was a burst of life the year he lived with his aunt Ruth and me, his cousin Sue

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