John Michael Sweeney, Como Park, 80, died June 1, 2024, at the Minneapolis Veterans Home. He passed away from complications of Ataxia and Parkinson’s disease, which he willfully fought until his last breath.

Mike was a U.S. Marine, former chief executive officer of the Twin Cities Newspaper Guild, and St. Paul Pioneer Press reporter and editor.

Mike, was born on April 10, 1944. He was the first and only baby born at the Camp Lockett Army Base in Campo, Calif. His family made their way from California to Montana and eventually to Hopkins, Minn., where he was raised as the eldest of five brothers and two sisters.

He attended Benilde High School, where he developed life-long friendships. He then joined the United States Marine Corps and served as a combat correspondent in the Vietnam War.

Upon his return from Vietnam, he was recognized by the State of Minnesota with a Distinguished Journalist award for his reporting of the war. He refused to attend the ceremony due to his strong opposition to the continued U.S. presence in Vietnam.

After completing his journalism degree at the University of Minnesota, he honed his writing skills at the Fairmont Sentinel and the Associated Press in Bismarck, N.D. He returned to the Twin Cities to work at the Pioneer Press where he spent the next 22 years as a journalist, editor, and newspaper guild steward. His specialty was covering crime and the court system.

Mike went on to become the chief executive officer of the Twin Cities Newspaper Guild until his retirement in 2006. In retirement, Mike partnered with his close friend and renowned novelist John Camp to write a book loosely based on a story he wrote years prior for the Pioneer Press. The novel “Bad Blood” went on to win a Thriller Writers Award.

Outside of his professional life, Mike enjoyed camping with his children and friends in the Boundary Waters, photographing loved ones, running marathons, studying and achieving a TaeKwonDo Brown belt, golfing, skiing and reading an endless number of books and of course, the newspaper.

The greatest joy of his life was spending time with his family, especially his grandchildren. They called him “Paca,” dubbed by his first granddaughter when she couldn’t pronounce grandpa.

Mike was preceded in death by his mother and father John and Marian Sweeney. He is survived by his wife Angeles; his children Kathleen, Carlo and Michael; daughters-in-law Tanya and Jacquie; six grandchildren; and siblings Bill, Mary Ann (Jack), Kathleen (John), Joe (Wendy), Tom (Carla) and Terry (Barb).      

A Celebration of Life service was scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, June 29, at the Minneapolis Veterans Home, 5101 Minnehaha Ave. South.

In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center at the University of Minnesota or the National Ataxia Foundation.

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