Anthony "Tony" J. Sweeney
November 18, 1929 – February 19, 2021
Anthony J. Sweeney, 91, Overland Park, KS, beloved and devoted husband, father, stepfather, grandfather, and friend, passed away at home on February 19, 2021.
Tony, also known as “A.J.” and “Tone,” was born November 18, 1929, in Kansas City, Missouri where he grew up. He was the son of Agnes and Anthony J. Sweeney, Sr. and the beloved stepson of Forrest Byars. Tony was the grandson of Emory J. Sweeney, a Kansas City entrepreneur and founder of the first automotive school in Kansas City, a founder of WHB Radio and other Kansas City ventures.
In his early 20’s, Tony moved to the Kansas side of the state line and he always liked to say he moved to Kansas in order to do missionary work for Missouri. When Tony, A MIZZOU alumni, married into a large family of vociferous and rabid Jayhawks, he proudly wore Tiger hats and sweatshirts to every family gathering. As his then 8-year-old granddaughter, Mallory, put it, “Grandpa is perfect, ‘cept he’s a Tiger!”
Tony graduated from Southwest High School in 1948 and the University of Missouri in 1952 where he was President of Sigma Chi fraternity. After graduation, he joined the Marine Corps and served during the Korean Conflict. In the early 1950’s, Tony began his career with Shyrock Realty and then joined the J.C.Nichols Company and retired 40 years later in 1994 as Vice President of Commerical Properties where he helped grow and manage the many shopping centers and apartments owned and developed by the Nichols Company, including the Country Club Plaza. Tony was a familiar figure as he often walked the Plaza and the other centers he was responsible for. He enjoyed a great many relationships with hundreds of tenants throughout the years and was there for them during the 1977 flood when he worked straight for 48 hours assisting his tenants clean and bring order again to the Plaza. He was proud of his association with the company and was devoted to his boss, Miller Nichols.
Tony had many friends throughout the community from all walks of life and he treasured those friendships, many of whom he enjoyed for more than 70 years. He particularly cherished his Sigma Chi fraternity brothers and was named Sigma Chi Man of the Year in 1988. Tony also enjoyed his monthly breakfasts with his fellow Nichols Company retirees and his monthly lunches with his fraternity brothers. During his retirement and senior years, Tony continued to make friends wherever he went. He had a knack for making people feel special by reaching out to sales persons, clerks, and other employees of the stores he often went to, always having a smile and special greeting for each, not to mention a story or two about “the old days.” He simply did not know a stranger and was respectful and kind to all. He never said a bad word about anyone. Tony was that rare individual who saw the good in everyone. He helped out those less fortunate in ways both big and small.
Tony married his soulmate, Doris, on December 31, 1990, and together they enjoyed 30 years of a loving and devoted marriage that served as an example to their children. When they were first married they said they would never spend a night apart and in all those years they never did. Tony and Doris shared a deep mutual respect and honor for each other that was the foundation upon which their marriage flourished.
Tony loved the Royals, the Chiefs, MU, Sigma Chi, Kansas City, his friends and, most of all, his family. He was a very proud Dad to his two sons, Mike and Dan, with whom he faithfully had lunch (at a different restaurant each time) every month for at least 25 years, come rain, shine, snow, ice, etc. Mike and Dan were always his pride and joy. He was their Dad, baseball coach, business mentor and best friend.
Tony was kind and loving to his children by marriage: Jim, Tom and Kelli. They shared a relationship of mutual love and respect and as one of them said: “I love Tony even more for the way he loves my Mom.”
In his retirement years, Tony especially enjoyed the company of his 13 grandchildren whom he loved dearly. They range in age from their 30’s to his youngest buddy, Jackson, 14 years old and he had a special affection for each of them. He answered to Grandpa, Popo, Papo and Pepaw! In Tony’s eyes they all were perfection and he loved to say “And there’s not an ugly one in the bunch!” The kids will take with them through their lives the special memories they shared with their grandfather.
Tony’s past memberships included Board of Directors of J.C. Nichols Company, Director of The Country Club Bank, President of the Plaza Kiwanis, Trustee of Shawnee Mission Hospital, Director of Junior Achievement, Governor and Director of the American Royal Committee, President of the Undergraduate Chapter of Sigma Chi and President of the K.C. Alumni Chapter of Sigma Chi.
Tony was a member of St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church. He was a past member of Indian Hills Country Club and Saddle and Sirloin Club.
He leaves to celebrate his life: his devoted wife of 30 years and best friend Doris Finholm Sweeney; his sons Michael (Sue) Sweeney and Daniel (Ann) Sweeney; his children by marriage James (Maria) English, Thomas (Lisa) English, and Kelli Robbins. He also leaves his cherished grandchildren: Kate (Josh) Brockway, Nicholas (Mary) Sweeney, Jessica (Jason) Albert, Daniel (Payton) Sweeney, Tommy English, Connor English, Megan English and fiancé Tom Newsum, Courtney English, Cody English, Mallory English, Ryan English, Andrew English and Jackson Robbins.
We are grateful and blessed to have been loved by such a wonderful man.
Private family services. Memorial contributions may be made to City Union Mission or to St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Please share a memory at www.mcgilleystatelinechapel.com.
City Union Mission
1100 E. 11th St., Kansas City, MO 64106
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105
No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.
Anthony "Tony" J. Sweeney
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