Herbert James Sweeney, Sr., 91 years old, passed away on February 12, 2020 in his home surrounded by family. He was born the youngest of 10 children to Maggie and Lawrence Sweeney in Fort Bidwell, California. He was raised in Fort Bidwell during the depression years but said everyone was poor so no one knew the difference. When the family needed meat, he would borrow a gun from a neighbor who would give him one bullet. The need for success made him an excellent marksman and hunter.
When Herb was 16 years old he and two friends set out to San Francisco to join the military. They were surprised to learn they were too young, but they were given jobs and stayed at a boarding house until they earned a high school diploma. When he turned 17, he was allowed to join the Army Air Corps, which later became the U.S. Air Force. He was trained as an aircraft mechanic, working stateside on war torn planes to get them back into action to return to the Korean War.
Herb married Louise Sexton and together they had four children, Eilene, Herbert Jr., Karen and Alan. He worked at the Sheldon Antelope Refuge in Northern Nevada and the Red Rock Trumpeter Swan Refuge in Western Montana. Later, he worked for various construction companies as a heavy equipment operator in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho and Montana.
Herb and Louise ended their marriage and he eventually married Billie Hill from Cedarville, California. He went to work for the BLM until retirement when they moved to Weiser, Idaho. He patiently taught his kids to hunt and fish. He built 2 homes for his family with his usual perfectionism.
After his wife, Billie, died, he lived with his daughter, Eilene, in Payette, Idaho. He loved animals of all kinds, always having several species roaming his homes throughout his life.
Herb is survived by his daughters, Eilene Sweeney and Karen Lockwood; his sons, Herbert (Joy) Sweeney, Jr. and Alan Sweeney; his special friend, Maxine Johnson as well as grandchildren, great grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
Herb’s desire was to be cremated and laid to rest in the Fort Bidwell Cemetery without any services. Instead, just tip a glass of burgundy wine in his memory. Urn burial will take place at a later date. A special “thank you” goes out to the caring staff of Heart ‘N Home Hospice. Condolences may be offered at www.potterchapel.com
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