Charles Wesley Sweet died peacefully in his sleep on April 9 in Madison. He began the University of Wisconsin Army Special Training Program in 1943 after receiving a draft notice while studying at Michigan State University. Soon, he met Jean Holzschuh at a dance in The Memorial Union, marrying her in 1946 when he returned from combat in Okinawa and U.S. Army occupations of Japan and Korea. Charles and Jean became life-long residents of Madison, settling in Midvale Heights in 1953, devoted to family and community.
Charles read the obituaries in this newspaper every morning, and would, upon not finding his, comment that he would continue his day. He was a loving husband and father; caring mentor to subordinates; a generous neighbor; kind to his caretakers, and devoted to whatever community activity his wife volunteered him for. He supported all ventures his children and grandchildren attempted, ill-advised or noble, and hosted annual vacations for them in Door County. A loyal Badger fan, he held season tickets for football games for 67 years. He umpired for women's softball, studied Tai Chi and demonstrated it with the Flow Motion Flyers. He was Chairman of the Board of Directors, which met weekly at The Tree House, and later at Fyfe's to solve world problems.
Charles graduated in the University of Wisconsin class of 1948, and was employed by the State of Wisconsin, retiring as the Fiscal Officer of the Department of Agriculture in 1988. He was Treasurer of the Board of Oakwood Village, and later spent time at Oakwood's Hebron Oaks in successful rehabilitation from injuries and illness. He was a member of Veterans for Peace Clarence Kailin Chapter 25, and was featured in the collection Long Shadows: Veterans Paths to Peace. In early 2003, Charles and Jean organized signature ads of the Not in Our Name Statement against the U.S. war in Iraq. For over a decade, he attended Jerry App's "Writing for Your Life" classes at The Clearing Folk School in Ellison Bay, completing a memoir on the Battle of Okinawa, to explain the horror of war to his grandsons.
Born on a farm in Lenawee County, Michigan on July 12, 1923, Charles was the son of Mary Ethel Beebe Sweet and Almon Sweet.
His sister Lillian Cunningham, brothers Louis Almon and Eugene Thane Sweet, nephew Charles Barth Sweet and niece Darcy Cunningham pre-deceased him. He is survived by his wife Jean, daughter Debra of New York City, son Jeffrey (Roberta) and grandsons Daniel and Trevor Sweet of Arlington Heights, IL; sister Beatrice Roper; sister-in-law Jewell Sweet; nieces and nephews Donna Mienk (Jerry Werle), Marian Walluks, Cindy (Jim) DeBruine, Sarah (Jack) LaBlonde, Gary (Rosemary) Sweet, Holly Free, Carol Sweet, Lewis Cunningham, Lavina Manion, Patricia (Lowell) Mueller, Allen and Dale Roper, and family friends Denajua Denujea, Cathy Hamma, and Dr. LaRoy Reek.
The family wishes to thank all his caretakers and medical personnel at University Station Geriatric Clinic; Associated Physicians; Meriter, University of Wisconsin and VA Hospitals; Oakwood Village West, Supporting Active Independent Lives and Home Instead Senior Care, for their work in supporting Charles' determination to remain vital almost to the age of 90.
There will be a Celebration of Life on Saturday April 13, 2013 at 1:00 p. m. at CRESS CENTER, 6021 University Ave. with a visitation beginning at 12 noon.
Memorials may be made to:
World Can't Wait 305 West Broadway New York NY 10013 (http://www.worldcantwait.net)
Veterans for Peace Chapter 25 P.O. Box 1811 Madison, WI 53701-1811 (http://www.madisonvfp.org)
Wisconsin/Nicaragua Wheelchair Project 641 Knickerbocker Street Madison, WI 53711 (http://wnwp.org)