Thomas Russell Sweeney

September 28, 1947

March 10, 1980

Wilson High graduate, 32,
killed in N.J. plane crash

Thomas R. Sweeney, 32,a native of Wilson, was killed Monday when the private plane he was piloting crashed near Ogdensburg, N.J. He lived at 5 Richard Drive West, Mount Arlington, N.J.

Federal officials investigating the crash found Sweeney's body in the single engine planeTuesday afternoon after a search of the wreck throughout the day in the northwest New Jersey hills.

Sweeney, who was alone in the plane, took off from Sussex Airport, at 9:30 pm. Monday en route to Morristown, according to a representative of the National Transportation and Safety Board. Sweeney had radioed the airport once he was airborne, reporting that visibility was 10 miles.

The plane, a Mooney 20, skimmed a thicket of trees at a 160-degree angle, then crashed into a cliff and burst into flames, according to officials.

A state police helicopter had joined local police, fire and first aid units in the search.

Born. Sept. 28, 1947, Sweeney was a son of Edgar T. and Cleobelle Sassaman Sweeney of Bath. He formerly lived in Daytona Beach, Fla., for eight years, moving to Mount Arlington this past summer.

He was a 1965 graduate of Wilson Area High School and a 1967 graduate of Daytona Beach Community College. In 1973 he graduated from the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Daytona Beach.

Mr. Sweeney was employed by Allied Chemical Co., Morristown, N.J. He was previously owner and manager of Panarama Aerial Advertising Co., Daytona Beach, Fla.

He was a member of St. Mark's United Church of Christ, Easton, the Daytona Beach Jaycees, the Aircraft Owners' Pilots Association, and Mount Arlington Homeowners. Association Board.

Surviving in addition to his parents are his wife, the former Rosalie Mentesana; a  son, Ryan Thomas, at home, and his paternal grandfather, Harry F. Sweeney, Phillipsburg.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. Mark's United Church of Christ, Easton. Interment will be in Northampton Memorial Shrine. The Curran Funeral Service, Wilson, is in charge of arrangements.

Source: The Express, March 13, 1980, p 37