OBITUARY - HALFORD SMITH "HAL" SWEENEY
PLEASANT HILL, IOWA -- Halford Smith SWEENEY was born to Earl and Mildred (SMITH) SWEENEY on August 15th, 1926 in Des
Moines, Iowa. His sister, Libby, said he was her “special” birthday present, as he was born the day after her birthday.
He had four brothers and three sisters.
The family lived on the Sweeney farm near Rising Sun until Hal was eight years old. They moved to a ranch in Texas near
Gainsville and moved back to the farm in Iowa when Hal began high school. While at East High, Hal was on the football
team and swim team.
With Hal’s father’s illness, he assumed the responsibility of the farming operation, upon his graduation from East High
School in 1944. Hal farmed and raised cattle for fifty years. He was an avid believer of soil conservation practices and
received awards from Polk County, Madison County, and the state of Iowa. He and his brother Jim, who farmed together, were
the first to plant birdsfoot trefoil in Polk County. Hal was also the first to plant switchgrass in Madison County.
Hal was a member of the Altoona Christian Church, charter member of the Altoona Lions Club, past trustee for Ohio Township
in Madison County and a past member of the Truro School Board. He also was a member of the “100 Point” Ducks Unlimited
Chapter in Mount Ayr.
Hal was united in marriage to Shirley LEHMKUHL on June 12, 1948. To this union three children were born; Becky, Brad,
and Julie. In 1957, they purchased a farm near Truro where they raised their family until 1999 when they sold their farm
and moved to Mount Ayr.
After retiring, he enjoyed planting a large garden, always sharing the produce with family and friends. He was often
referred to as “The Truro Tomato King”. He was very proud of his three restored John Deere tractors which he had used
when he farmed. He also enjoyed fishing for “The One” that got away.
Family meant a lot to Hal. He always enjoyed family reunions and visits. He also enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s
school and sports activities, and just being “Grandpa”. He was a great conversationalist and enjoyed visiting with people
of all ages. Hal spent the last two years of his life at Cleaview Home where he passed away March 14, 2008. He greatly
enjoyed the staff and appreciated the good care they gave him. He was loved by all who knew him and will be greatly
Hal is survived by his wife Shirley of Mount Ayr and their three children, Becky JONES of Truro, Brad Sweeney and wife
Quendy of Truro, and Julie ROUTH and husband Joe of Mount Ayr; seven grandchildren, Gretchen JONES HEFFERNAN and husband
Mike, Shannon SWEENEY, Kelli SWEENEY, Nathan SWEENEY, Katie ROUTH, Tricia ROUTH UITERMARKT and husband Jeff, and Matthew
ROUTH and wife Katie; also five great-grandchildren, Eddie HEFFERNAN, Devon BEENER, Blake BEENER, Tannah SWEENEY and
Kayla SWEENEY; brother Jim SWEENEY and wife Marilyn; sister Elizabeth CARROLL and sister-in-law, Betty Jo SWEENEY;
brother-in-law Bill LEHMKUHL and wife Priscilla; nieces, nephews, other relatives and a host of friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents Earl and Mildred SWEENEY; brothers, Herb, Dan and Dave and sisters, Dorothy
and Jean KIRSCHNER; brothers-in-law, Al MARTIN, Kenneth CARROLL, and Hans KIRSCHNER; sisters-in-law, Emma SWEENEY and
Jewell SWEENEY; and parents-in-law, Charles and Blanche LEHMKUHL.
Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, 2008
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