Margaret "Peg" Sweeney
Margaret Ann Sweeney of Arkville passed away peacefully at her longtime home on Saturday, March 22, 2014, surrounded by her loving family.
“Peg,” as many called her, was well known for her long career as a clerk at Fairview Public Library and for her many years of service as a community volunteer.
Peg was the only daughter of the late Alois and Marie Gimber of New York City. She married Francis J. Sweeney on September 17, 1951. The couple had three children, Robert, Patricia, (“Patty”) and Brian. Her sons, Robert of Arkville and his friend Cheryl Roberts; Brian of Margaretville and his wife, Carmel; a son-in-law, Tony Baldo of New Jersey; and four precious grandchildren, Stephen Baldo of New Jersey, Alison Baldo of Oneonta, Kevin Sweeney of Oneonta, and Jessica Olenych and her husband, Jake, of Arkville, survive Peg.
Francis died on February 22, 1978. Patty passed away on July 31, 1996. Robert’s wife, Vicki (Marks) died on June 6, 2000. Those closest to Peg know that these losses created a deep sadness that she fought bravely as she continued her life without them.
A graduate of Julia Richmond High School in New York City, Peg first came to the Catskills after her parents purchased the former Locust Grove Hotel outside of Arkville. It was while working her summer job at the resort that she met her future husband. Peg liked to recall that when she met one of Francis’ brothers, she had commented to a friend about how cute he was. “Wait until you meet Francis, he’s the really handsome one,” she was told.
Peg agreed and it was love at first sight and they enjoyed 27 years of marriage. She was a devoted stay-at-home mom while her children were young, but spent countless hours volunteering on behalf of the Margaretville Hospital Auxiliary. Peg worked for years helping to staff the “Hospitality Shop” in the hospital lobby and the Thrift Shop in Margaretville. She was also part of a dedicated crew of volunteers who helped organize the annual bake sale that was a key fund-raising component at the Auxiliary Antique and Flea Market each summer.
Peg was in charge of organizing the bakers and always worked as part of the crew that ran the event. She took great pride at the end of the market calculating how much money had been raised on the auxiliary’s behalf. Peg continued these duties until several years ago when she regrettably gave up this task due to lack of mobility. Peg’s volunteer efforts also included working numerous years to help organize and pack boxes for the Margaretville Community Christmas Project.
As her children got older, Peg decided to join the workforce. Peg was asked to run for the post of Town of Middletown Tax Collector and enjoyed this job for several terms. She later took a position as a clerk at Bill’s Spirit Shop in Margaretville and worked there for a number of years, truly enjoying the camaraderie of interacting with the public.
After Francis passed away, Peg went to work at the Margaretville Hospital laboratory. Peg spent about a year at that job, but found the healthcare environment was not to her liking. An avid reader, she began a new phase in her career when she answered an ad for a position at the Fairview Public Library. She began her employment at the library more than a quarter-century ago and continued her duties as a library clerk until mid-December of last year.
Peg took great pride in her dedication to the library and worked three days each week, despite severe arthritis that made walking difficult. She never waivered in her staunch protection of library property— anyone with an overdue book grew to fear (or admire) the matter-of-fact reminder calls from Peg explaining that they needed to return books. When patrons got a phone call that started out, “Listen, Dearie,” they knew it was time to start searching for their overdue books.
Peg always enjoyed traveling and was thankful that she and Francis were able to explore various parts of the world — always accompanied by dear friends Dorissa and Tom Smith.
In honoring Peg’s longtime request, her birth date is not being published, as she preferred to be known as “forever young.”
The family has requested that donations in her memory be made to the Fairview Library, P.O. Box 609, Margaretville, NY 12455.
Fr. Steven Scarmozzino, pastor of the Sacred Heart Parish in Margaretville, of which Peg and Francis were longtime members, conducted a private prayer service for family members at Hynes Funeral Home in Margaretville, which was entrusted with arrangements. As per Peg’s wishes, there will be no calling hours.
Community members who would like to share remembrances of Peg are invited to a reception that the family will host at the Arkville Firehall on Wednesday, March 26 from 5 to 8 p.m.
Burial will be in the spring next to her husband at the family plot at the St. Francis de Sales Cemetery on Route 28 in Allaben.