David Ross Sweeney

May 25, 1960September 16, 2021

It is with immense sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Dr. David Ross Sweeney at his home in Atlanta, Georgia on September 16th, 2021. He was surrounded by his immediate family, sister, and a family friend Melora Rennie, after a hospital stay associated with his recent diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

He was a gentle, warm, caring, and learned man with a deep devotion and love of family. He was a dedicated, friendly and talented optometrist, and a shrewd tactician and steely competitor in the sport of sailing at which he excelled. David will be remembered for his kind heart, generosity, dedication, determination, and the goofy, playful antics that made him such an amazing Dad.

Dr. David Ross Sweeney was born in Boston, Massachusetts on May 25th, 1960, to his parents Denis Brendan and Betty Isabel. He was the eldest child and was shortly followed by brother, Brian, and sister, Elizabeth (Tyler). The family moved to Toronto, Canada in 1966 and resided in the Glenorchy neighborhood. David obtained a Bachelor of Science Degree from Queen’s University in Kingston Ontario in 1984 and went on to further is education by completing his Doctor of Optometry Degree from the New England College of Optometry in Boston in 1997. This is where he met Rachael Catherine Read, a fellow student who became the love of his life. Whilst completing their degree they were married on a wonderful snowy New Year’s Eve on December 31, 1997, in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The happy couple moved to Atlanta and began a professional partnership that culminated in the launching of an optometry practice called Vision Source Insight Eyecare in 2001. This practice allowed him to share his passion for his patients and providing the highest level of care surrounded by incredible staff. Here he focused on low vision patients, myopia management, and restoring vision through specialty contact lenses. Coming to Atlanta also marked the start of a precious family journey that welcomed Catherine Isabel in 1999, followed by Alexander Ross in 2001, Victoria Anne in 2006, and Elizabeth Marie in 2009 in the wonderful Chastain Park neighborhood.

At the age of nine, David was introduced to sailing when the family purchased a summer cottage on Stoney Lake in Ontario and a lifelong passion began. Under the coaching of his father, the Stoney Lake Yacht Club, and in partnership with his brother, Brian, the Sweeney boys developed into a winning team, competing in the multi-hulled Tornado class. First, they completed on Stoney Lake, and later in regional and national regattas, before winning a place on the Canadian Olympic Team for the 1984 Los Angeles Games. David followed up to compete in the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Sailing remained a constant in David’s life. His greatest joy was winning the CORK Regatta in Ontario and sharing his knowledge and expertise with his family and watching them compete. Over the past year, his time sailing on Lake Allatoona with the Atlanta Yacht Club brought him great happiness as he reconnected with the sport and saw his two youngest daughters blossom into sailors themselves.

David Sweeney had a great love of family. As a devoted husband, David was generous, kind and supportive. The life partnership with Rachael was a true love story filled with support, laughter and surprises, and a regular gift of flowers… just because. She was his shining star. Over the years, David enjoyed being the family photographer while making new memories on various family vacations with his most recent highlights being seeing the Grand Canyon, the Great Pyramids of Giza and the Eiffel Tower. As a fantastic Dad, he was his children’s loudest cheerleader and staunchest supporter at whatever sport¬—on the sidelines snapping photos of their proudest moments. He is forever present in their lives and his commitment to fun, encouragement and competitiveness made him their true champion.

David and Rachael joined Peachtree Presbyterian Church in 1999 when they moved to Atlanta and have remained active members of the congregation. It is here that David will be memorialized, and his life celebrated on Thursday September 23rd at 2:00 pm. Location: Peachtree Presbyterian Church Sanctuary, 3434 Roswell Rd NW, Atlanta, GA 30305. ( The service will be streamed at ) Family and friends are invited to pay their respects and join in celebration of a good life cut short too soon with reception to follow at the Williams Center at Peachtree Presbyterian Church.

The family welcomes condolences in the form of written letters and cards to be mailed to: Vision Source Insight Eyecare, c/o David Sweeney Memories, 5380 Roswell Rd NE, Atlanta, GA 30342

In Lieu of Flowers, the Sweeney Family are kindly suggesting donations to the Atlanta Yacht Club (AYC) or La’Amistad. AYC Junior Sailing is special to David because it aligns with his passion for sailing and in his legacy his family will remain members there. David volunteered for La’Amistad, a tutoring center located within Peachtree Church for low-income families, working to provide eye exams and glasses for their students.

AYC: Please Send a check directly to: Atlanta Yacht Club c/o David Sweeney Memorial 7120 Yacht Club Dr. Acworth, GA 30102



  • Memorial Service

    Thursday, September 23, 2021



David Ross Sweeney

have a memory or condolence to add?

Jeff Beedell

November 25, 2021

Dear Rachael and All the Sweeney Family,

Writing on behalf of the Beedell Family on Stoney Lake to say how saddened we are by your loss of David.
We have such fond memories of David, Brian, Elizabeth and, of course, Brendan and Betty during our many shared summers on the lake. Seeing the Sweeney Wayfarer heading out for a Saturday afternoon USLA 'yacht' race was always a helpful reminder that the Beedell International 14 (or Laser) was late again heading to the start line. Years later, we were all so proud of David and Brian`s successes at national and international sailing regattas.
A special note from my mother, Ann Beedell to Betty to say what a kind, gentle and accomplished son you raised.

The Beedell Family

Selena Patterdon

November 5, 2021

I’m so sad and shocked to learn of the passing Dr. Sweeney! He was so kind, always asked about my family, paid special attention to my needs as a patient and went above and beyond to make me feel valued. My heart is sad for his children and wife whom he spoke so fondly of, especially his children. My sympathies to all his family and friends. So so sad to hear this news!

Una Casserly

October 22, 2021

So shocked and saddened to learn of David’s passing. Our deepest sympathies go out to Rachel, her family and all who worked with David at the Vision Source practice. May he Rest In Peace.
Bernard McGuinness & Úna Casserly

Roberta Clark

September 24, 2021

What a beautiful Memorial Service .......and what a testimony to David’s exemplary life..........but .........the most beautiful and living testament are your children and you, dear Rachel............and he lives on in them......their faces radiate the love and the joy they have have seen modelled and were taught throughout their young lives.
What a fabulous legacy and example you both have given them.......I know that it will serve them well over their whole lifetimes!!!! Bravo!!!!!!!
With lots of love and fond memories...........God bless you all!
“ Penny” Clark XO

Jill Thornton

September 24, 2021

David's twenty years of pro bono work for Prevent Blindness Georgia was invaluable. He deeply cared about helping Georgia's low- income and at-risk adults to see so they were able to drive, return to work to support themselves and their families, and see their children and grandchildren's smiles. David was such a multifaceted person who shone in every aspect of his life. May David's memory be a blessing to all who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.
Jill Thornton

Janine Morrison

September 23, 2021

I was fortunate enough to be a Nanny for the Sweeney family many years ago. I have such fond memories of Catherine and Alexander (they were the only two kids at the time) and their loving parents. I hold a very special place in my heart for the Sweeney's. Lots of hugs to Rachel, the kids and Melora. Rest in peace David - until we meet again.
Janine Morrison

David Howie

September 23, 2021

Just yesterday I received the very sad news of the passing of David. He and his extended family have been on my mind with prayers ever since. I don’t know how to put into words my extreme sorrow and deepest condolences. David was perhaps the finest person that I have ever known. I first introduced myself to David when I called him out of the blue at Queens University after reading about he and his brother Brian’s sailing successes. When I called I told him I was a rookie Hobie 16 sailor on a mission to win championships and I was reading many books and magazines that generated many questions. He was very generous with his time and both answered my questions and encouraged me to continue calling. He quickly became my mentor, and in May of that year [1983?] he offered to sail with me in an upstate New York regatta. We won that regatta with each taking turns at the helm thanks to David’s leadership and coaching. That weekend truly launched my sailing career. Along the way I got to know Brian and Liz. Soon afterward, David invited me to Kingston to stay with he and Brian as they prepared for the 1984 Olympic trials. He hooked me up with a local sailor to indoctrinate me into the Tornado class and also participate in the trials. Following that, I introduced dingy sailor Kevin Smith to racing Hobie 16, 18, and Tornado catamarans which eventually earned him David’s trust to join David’s future Olympic quests in Korea and Spain. It was truly wonderful to get to know David, his siblings, and his parents as well as his many friends over the years. He and his family were always upbeat and extremely friendly and generous. I deeply regret that I lost contact with David and his family as I got lost in a career and other non sailing interests. I will never forget David for all he has done for me. He will surely be missed by all. My heart are prayers are with his family as they morn such a tremendous loss. Rest in peace David, and rest assured you will never be forgotten.

David Grosswald

September 22, 2021

I had the privilege of being at many professional meetings and frequent local study sessions with David. He was truly always and undeniably the nicest guy in the room but also probably the smartest. I will miss collaborating with him!! My prayers are with Rachael and the kids.

Winston Adams

September 22, 2021

Mrs. Sweeney and family,
I just wanted to leave you with this word of encouragement in the days ahead to Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not to your own understanding and in all your ways acknowledge him and he shall direct your path. Your dear patient
Winston Adams


September 22, 2021

Sincere and heartfelt condolences to the entire Sweeney family from his friends in Bermuda. I new David well through sailing Tornados. He was an excellent sailor and sportsman and a really helpful and decent person. We have many fine memories to cherish. May his spirit sail over the horizon on a beam reach, doing the wild thing!