Sweet, Robert

June 29, 2023

Robert K. Sweet, Jr. died at home on June 29, 2023, with love of family surrounding him. 

“Bob,” born in Upton, MA, on Oct. 11, 1937 to Robert and Ruth Sweet, graduated from Grafton High School and University of Massachusetts in 1959. While at UMass he met his future wife, Elizabeth “Betty” A. Graves, and in 1959 he and Betty were married in Shirley, Mass. He started his ministerial training at Hartford Seminary and graduated with a Master of Divinity in 1962. He went on to obtain a Doctorate in Parish Ministry.

In addition to wife, Betty, Bob is survived by 2 children, Robert Keniston (Kenis), his wife, Vickie (Lucia), of Lake George, NY, and Bonnie Rae Spicer, her husband, Kevin, and 6 grandchildren: Colleen Maria, Torey Keniston, Eli Martyn and wife, Katherine; Noah Chamberlain, Heather Morrissette, and fiancé, Justin, and Hanna Morrissette.

Robert was ordained an Elder in the United Methodist Church in 1962 and for 40 years served churches in Easthampton MA, West Springfield, MA, Niantic, CT, and Reading, MA. Between 1981 and 1987 he served as District Superintendent of the former RISEM District, offering leadership to 84 churches and 72 pastors.

Bob led dozens of summer programs for youth at camps and on trips around New England, as well as leading mission work teams in countries around the world.  He worked closely with the Bishop as member of the Cabinet, chair of multiple boards, and as Conference Parliamentarian.

Bob was elected delegate to numerous General Conferences of the United Methodist Church, to the World Methodist Conference in Kenya (’87) and in Brazil (’92). Social Justice was very important to him as he chaired multiple related committees, marched in Memphis during the 1968 sanitation workers strike, and organized demonstrations for such causes as labor rights, environmentalism, and nuclear disarmament.

In retirement he served as Trustee of the Marlborough Frost Free Library and Co-Chair of the Library Building Committee. He and Betty traveled to over 50 countries and throughout North America. His first love was his family, followed by the church and its people.

Services will be held at 11 am on Friday, July 14, 2023, at the Federated Church of Marlborough, 16 Pleasant St., Marlborough, NH, with collation immediately afterwards at 160 Main St. in Marlborough.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Federated Church of Marlborough (address above), Bow Mills United Methodist Church, 505 South St., Bow, NH, 03304 and Friends of Frost Free Library, P.O. Box 457, 28 Jaffrey Road, Marlborough, NH, 03455.