- Published: July 17, 2014
Hazel Sweeney, née Wright, died on Monday, July 7, following a long illness. She was 90.
Hazel was born in Dumont, N.J., one of eight children to the late Louise and Joseph Wright. In 1940, at the age of 17, Hazel married Robert L. Sweeney Sr. Robert was one of the first two men selected in the “fishbowl” draft lottery in Englewood, N.J., prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor. The army wife life began for Hazel at Fort Huachuca, Ariz. Hazel and Robert called many different places home during his time in the military, including bases in Japan and Germany, until his retirement from the Army as a lieutenant colonel in 1961. In 1954, they settled in Teaneck, N.J.
During World War II, Hazel worked at Wright Aeronautical in New Jersey alongside her Aunt, Lue Dixon. An ongoing fascination with fine jewelry eventually led her to enroll in a jewelry class at The Educational Alliance in New York City in the 1960s. Her artistic side blossomed and she embraced the design and creation of original gold and silver jewelry with passion, perseverance and dedication. Hazel’s hard work culminated in her owning and managing a successful jewelry store in the East Village for many years.
Hazel’s final years were spent as a widow in Yellow Springs, where she moved in 2001 after Robert preceded her in death in 1996. She is survived by a daughter, Elizabeth Landry, and a son, Robert L Sweeney Jr.; five grandchildren, Quentin Hardy, Robert L. Sweeney III, Evelyn Sweeney, Joyce Sweeney and Tanya Sweeney; a sister, Ruth Jensen; a sister-in-law, Barbara Wright; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by four sisters, Mary Johnson, Ida Baltimore, Louvenia Poindexter and Nellie Fore; and two brothers, Jerry and John Wright.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, July 22, at the First Baptist Church social hall in Yellow Springs.