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1926 - 2019
William ("Bill") Rowland Sweeney, a respected attorney and well known civic leader in Southern California, passed away peacefully on March 8, 2019. He is survived by his wife of over 70 years, Ann, daughters Michele and Annette (Dan), and sons Bill, Pat (Melinda), and Mike, seven grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. His youngest son, Tim, passed away in 2014.
Bill was born January 27, 1926, to Julia and William Sweeney and grew up in Perris, California, with his sisters, Juliet and Genevieve. His father owned both drug stores in town and, when a boiler exploded below one of the stores, Bill's father was severely injured and died a year later. Bill was only nine years old and started working at the gas station to help his mother out. He attended Perris High School where met his future bride, Ann Lauda. He went to college in Utah but World War II interrupted his education. He was deployed in Europe after the D-Day invasion as an intelligence observer whose perilous job was finding safe routes for the advancing troops.
After the war, Bill got his college degree from Loyola University of Los Angeles. He and Ann married and moved to San Francisco where their first two children were born. After his first year of law school at Hastings, he worked for the state legislature for a year before finishing his law degree. In 1952, Bill opened his own firm in Los Angeles.
Bill settled the family in Manhattan Beach where the rest of the children were born and raised. He loved sports, coached Little League, and had season tickets to the USC Trojans, L.A. Rams, and Dodgers. Golf was his passion and he tried to play as often as he could. Bill was proud of his Irish Heritage, so St. Patrick's Day was always a special day of celebration. Bill and Ann's favorite destination was Hawaii and they visited many times.
Bill served as the Manhattan Beach Parking Commissioner and, during his tenure, his group built the still most heavily-used parking lot in the downtown area which they financed completely with the profits of the city parking revenue. Bill was also instrumental in convincing the County to finance a library for Manhattan Beach. He also was a founding member of the Valley Group in Riverside, CA. The business leaders in this group worked tirelessly to promote and develop Riverside County, often going to Washington D.C. to lobby for aid. After Bill retired from the daily practice of his law firm, he continued to work as the attorney for the Oxnard Foundation until just a few years before his death.
Bill dearly loved his family, immediate and extended, and would go out of his way to help them. His generosity and wise guidance will be sorely missed.
In lieu of flowers, please consider sending a donation to: "www.woundedwarriorsproject.org."
Published in The Beach Reporter on Mar. 28, 2019
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