The Obit For Chuck Sweeney

Charles Sweeney

Published in Richmond Times-Dispatch from January 8 to January 9, 2011


SWEENEY, Charles L., age 86, passed away on Friday, January 7, 2011. He was born November 15, 1924 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Peggy; four daughters, Cheryl Sweeney of Nellysford, Va., Michelle Lyne and her husband, James, Ann Weedon and her husband, Robert, and Cindy Butler; three sons, Charles L. Sweeney Jr. and his wife, Marby, of Brownsville, Texas, William G. Sweeney and Mark A. Sweeney and his wife, Pamela; 13 grandchildren, Seth Sweeney, Ashley King, Wyck Sweeney, Evan Lyne, Chase Lyne, Mark Sweeney Jr., Christina Sweeney, Bryce Sweeney, Brooke Weedon, Meghan Weedon, McKenzie Butler, Christopher Butler and Weston Butler; one brother, David J. Sweeney and his wife, Jane, who live in Richmond.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Eleanor and Charles Sweeney; and his sisters, Arlene Stricker and Claire McGiff.

Chuck lost his father at age 13 from complications to exposure from mustard gas when he served in WWI. Chuck was immediately called upon to support his family. This helped to form his strong work ethic and his ability to overcome obstacles that he faced throughout his life.

Chuck graduated from Dartmouth, and while he was there he coached the freshman baseball team. He served in the Navy in WWII. He was a professional baseball player in the New York Yankees system. He came to Richmond in 1952 to work in sales for the Reynolds Metals Company.

On October 11, 1958, Chuck opened his first Shoney's Big Boy Restaurant while still working for Reynolds Metals Company. He later focused solely on the restaurant business, which he grew into a very successful business that added the Captain D's Seafood Restaurants in 1977.

He was known for his sincere kindness, compassion and generosity to his fellow man. This was exemplified by his years of charitable service with so many worthwhile organizations.

A few of his more recent charities were the Little Sisters of the Poor, Literacy Council of Metropolitan Richmond, Northstar Academy, Catholic Charities, Sacred Heart Center, St. Mary's Hospital, Massey Cancer Center, University of Richmond, VCU, the YMCA and Central Virginia Food Bank.

He always served others not for the awards or recognition, but for the sheer joy of helping others. He had an immediate effect on others that would bring a smile to their faces. He was motivated by his early experience of losing his father at such a young age and had compassion for others facing difficult situations. His service to others was also a result of his strong Catholic faith. He never met a stranger and will be truly missed.

The family will receive friends 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at Bliley's-Central, 3801 Augusta Ave.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held 11 a.m. Monday at St. Bridget's Catholic Church.

Interment Hollywood Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to St. Joseph's Home for the Aged and Little Sisters of the Poor.