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Fernand T. Sweeney.

ASHBURNHAM Fernand "Fred" T. Sweeney, 88, a longtime civic leader in Ashburnham and formerly of South Main St. in Ashburnham, died Saturday, February 28, 2009 at Broadview Retirement Community in Winchendon where he has resided the last year.

Fred, son of the late Edmond and Rose (Dube) Sweeney, was born in Grand'mere, Canada on October 17, 1920. His family moved to Vermont from Canada when he was a child and there he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.

Fred was as proud an American as could be, enlisting in the Army Air Force in World War II. He served three years with the Night Fighters and was in charge of the surgeon's office as a flying medic. During his enlistment, he met his future wife, Margaret Estelle Smith of Ashburnham. They were married while Fred was still serving his country and they resided in California during that time. He attained the rank of Sergeant and was honorably discharged from the service. He and Margaret then moved to Ashburnham, Massachusetts.

He and Margaret were longtime communicants of St. Anne Catholic Church in South Ashburnham. Fred worked as a foreman at Gem Crib and Cradle Company in Gardner and also worked at Patriot Industries in Winchendon for many years before being elected in 1976 to serve as Local Business Manager of the United Furniture Workers of America, Local 154. While serving in the Union, he also was elected to the International General Executive Board, retiring in 1988.

A lifelong resident of Ashburnham, he was very active in the community. During his time in Ashburnham, he served on the Town Finance Board, Cemetery Commission, Parks and Recreation Department, and was an Election Constable. He also served on the Town Democratic Committee for many years. He also served as a Special Police Officer for twenty-eight years, and was a former president of the Ashburnham Police Association. He served as Chairman of the Ashburnham Council on Aging and president of the Forever Young Club. He also volunteered to deliver Meals on Wheels for a number of years. Fred was a past-president of the Parent Teachers' Association in Ashburnham. He served many years as Cub Scout Master as well as Scoutmaster of the Boy Scouts of America. He served on the Executive Board of the Nashua Valley Council Boy Scouts of America.

He was a founding member of the American Legion Post 142 in Ashburnham, where he had been a lifelong member since 1946. This Legion Post was later named after his son, Thomas P. Sweeney, who was killed in action while serving as a Marine in Vietnam. During his membership, he served in many capacities including Commander, Service Officer, Treasurer and Bar Manager. He was a past "Chef De Gare" of the 40/8, which is an independent, by invitation, honor organization of male and female U.S. veterans, more commonly known as the Forty & Eight. For many years, Fred, along with his wife Margaret and many other volunteers ran the American Legion Bingo in Ashburnham. He was also instrumental in establishing the Thomas P. Sweeney American Legion Scholarship which benefits deserving students.

This last year at the Broadview Assisted Living Community, in Winchendon was a happy one for Fred. He truly loved the Broadview community and its staff and he cherished his wonderful friends there.

Fred will be sadly missed by his son; Keith E. Sweeney and his wife Pamela of Rindge, New Hampshire, one granddaughter; Kimberley B. Sweeney and her husband Randy S. Clarke of Salem, Massachusetts, three sisters; Doris Sheltra and Carmen Paquette, both of Springfield and Stella Rondeau of Claremont, New Hampshire and many wonderful nieces and nephews who doted on Fred and loved him so much. Besides his wife, Fred was predeceased by two sons; David Lee Sweeney in 1946 and PFC Thomas P. Sweeney on March 31, 1968, one brother; Leo Sweeney and one sister; Rejean Faucher.

Fred's funeral with Military Honors will begin at the Lamoureux-Fletcher Community Funeral Home, 105 Central St., Gardner at 9AM on Thursday, March 5, 2009. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to attend. His Funeral Mass will be celebrated in St. Anne's Church, Ashburnham at 10AM. Rev. John E. Horgan will celebrate the Mass. Following, Fred will be honored with Military Honors outside St. Anne's Church. He will then be laid to rest beside his beloved wife Margaret and his two sons, David and Thomas in a private ceremony at Calvary Cemetery in Winchendon. Visiting Hours at the funeral home will be held on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 from 1-3 and 6-9 PM.

To view the online video tribute to Fred, for directions to the funeral home or to sign the online guest book for the Sweeney family, please visit our website at

Lamoureux-Fletcher Community Funeral Home is highly honored to have been asked to direct Fred's funeral arrangements.

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Title Annotation:DEATHS
Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:Mar 2, 2009
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