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Obituaries » Margaret "Marge" Sweeney

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February 7, 1927 - January 24, 2024

Burial Date June 14, 2024

A Mass to celebrate her life will be held on Friday, June 14, 2024, beginning at 11:30 a.m., at St. Philip Roman Catholic Church, 112 Capital Ave. NE Battle Creek, MI 49017. The family will receive friends at the church beginning at 10:30 a.m., one hour prior to the service. Interment for Jim and Marge will take place at Ft. Custer National Cemetery following the Mass. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Ignatius Loyola Catholic Church, or the St. Ignace Area Hope Food Pantry.

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Margaret D. (Miller) Sweeney, passed away peacefully at her home surrounded by family on January 24, 2024. Margaret “Marge” was born February 7, 1927, in Fowler, Michigan, to the late Joseph and Mary Miller. As one of 12 children, she grew up on a farm where she learned to work hard and enjoyed caring for the horses and climbing trees. She was instilled with a love and appreciation for family and a strong dedication to her Catholic faith. Margaret was a long-time member of Saint Ignatius Loyola Church in St. Ignace.

She and three of her sisters lived together in Battle Creek, Michigan, working at Rich Manufacturing and as a waitress in a diner. In September of 1950, while she was working at the diner, Marge met the love of her life, James “Jim” Sweeney. The two quickly fell in love and on December 30, 1950, they were married at St. Philip Roman Catholic Church in Battle Creek, Michigan.

In 1954 Jim and Marge moved to St. Ignace, MI, where Jim worked as an Iron Worker on the construction of the Mackinac Bridge. After the completion of the Bridge, St. Ignace is where they decided to build their life. They built their home, which Marge designed, and the house was completed in 1961. The family remained in St. Ignace until 1965 when they moved to St. Johns to be closer to Jim’s work. However, they kept their home and after Jim’s retirement, they again became residents of St. Ignace, and enjoyed their winters in St. Petersburg, Florida.

Marge was a caring, loving, and dedicated wife and mother to six children. She was a talented baker and cook. Her apple and blueberry pies were well known in St. Ignace and widely considered the best. She often had one or two pies fresh from the oven to welcome visitors. In cooking, her favorite ingredients were butter, mayonnaise, half & half, and salt, which resulted in delicious, popular, and hard to replicate dishes. Ironically, her family attributes this to her long and healthy life. Marge had a love for lilacs, peonies, sweet peas, and rhubarb and would often gather clippings along her walks.

Marge was an avid walker. She was often known as “the nice lady who walked everywhere.” She walked to Church every day for service and was determined to walk up “convent hill” without losing her breath. She also challenged herself by regularly climbing the stairs at the Straits State Park, Castle Rock, and the Lilac Run/Walk on Mackinac Island. In 2010 at the age of 83 Marge became one of the lucky people who had the honor of climbing to the top of the south tower of the Mackinac Bridge. In celebration of her 90th birthday, Marge left her youngest son in the dust as she twice climbed the stairs of a 16-story high-rise in St. Petersburg, FL. Marge also walked the Mackinac Bridge regularly on Labor Day through the age of 90.

Marge was preceded in death by James (Jim), her loving husband of nearly 59 years, sisters, Anne, Kay, Rose, and Josephine, brothers, Bob, Mike, Frank, and Ed, and grandson, David Sweeney.

Marge is survived by her children, Dennis (Cynthia) Sweeney of St. Petersburg, FL, James Sweeney Jr. of Eaton Rapids, MI, Timothy (Shari) Sweeney of Mason, MI, Tama (Tom) Snider of Traverse City, MI, Mick (Kate) Sweeney of St. Petersburg, FL, Gina (Chuck) Seibold of Parrish, FL;  7 grandchildren, Jesse (Elizabeth) Sweeney, Erin (Dave) Vanier, Caitlin (Joe) Barshaw, Mitchell (Lena) Sweeney, Sara (Christian) Zavala, Anais (Johnny) Quinnan; 12 great-grandchildren; sister, Helen Spitzley; brothers, Bill (Jackie) Miller, David (Sherry) Miller, and sister-in-law Mona Brandou.

Special thanks go to the wonderful nurses and aides of McLaren Hospice of Cheboygan: Tina, Laura, Karen, Brooke, Shana, Carrie, and Bobbie.