Kathleen Sweeney

Obituary of Kathleen Sweeney

Kathleen (Kay) Sweeney April 6, 1931 to December 30, 2021

After a long, beautiful, and full life, our Mom & Nanny Kay passed away with her family holding her hand and was welcomed into the open arms of her loving husband of 50 years, John (Jack) Sweeney (2001).

Mom was born in Detroit in 1931 to Mary & Joe Doran and shortly afterwards moved to Toronto where she grew up in a vibrant Irish neighbourhood.  It was there that she eventually met her future husband, got married at St. Michael’s Cathedral, and where they started their family and settled until 1962 before moving to Kitchener. 

Kay held our family together and what a big family it turned out to be.  Over the course of a 50-year love story with our Dad, they had ten children upon whom she granted each with a middle name because she never had one.  Mary Ann (Peter Landry), Michael (Laurie Arlein Calder), Cathy, Stephen (Elaine), Eileen (Tom Bergen), Shelagh (Tim McDonald), Peggy, Maureen (Scott Newbrough), Timmy & Peter (Krista) in turn combined to add 25 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren to our clan. 

It was a chaotic upbringing for all of us but it was one rooted in love and generosity.  In Mom’s kitchen, there was always room for another seat at the table, more water to boil for tea, and room in the pot for one more potato.  She instilled in us that family came first and family is about love, laughter, and kindness.

Throughout her life, she prioritized her family, reveled in her role as Mom and Nanny Kay, and made each of us feel special and loved.  Beyond her immediate family, she found her identity and peace in her garden, her books, her faith, her music, and her many lifelong friends.  To everything in life, she brought her trademark good humour, quick wit, and infectious laugh.

Kay was Jack’s grounding force throughout his life and very public career.  Together they embraced and weathered all that life threw at them and they did so with grace, humility, and love.  They were best friends and in our sadness we are finding comfort in the knowledge that they are together again. 


A few months ago, she fell ill and it became clear rather fast that her final chapter was drawing to a close.  She remained lucid, funny, and kind to the very end.

Kay leaves behind a legacy of love and a family tree that resembles a small village. 

At Mom’s request, a private family Mass will be held in her honour.  A celebration of life will be held sometime in the Spring.  Should you wish to make a donation in her memory, a gift to St. Mary’s General Hospital or Lisaard House would be a fitting thanks to those who cared for her with such compassion in her final days. 

Mom, may the road rise up to meet you.  May the wind always be at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, and rains fall soft upon your fields.  And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand. 

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