470 Massachusetts Avenue, Acton MA 01720


Marilyn A (Thomson) Sweeney

Marilyn A (Thomson) Sweeney

Saturday, April 10th, 2021
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Marilyn A. Sweeney (Thomson), beloved mother, friend, and grandmother died on April 10, 2021 from cancer and its complications. She was 85.

A native of Dorchester, Marilyn left the city after attending Fisher Junior College to marry her late husband, Robert “Red” Sweeney in 1956. In her early years she enjoyed being a secretary and later, after the kids were in school, driving her bus #10 route in Acton. For all who knew her, her greatest love was being a mom to her 7 children, and then by extension, 10 grandchildren and 4 great-grandchildren, and anyone else who had the great fortune of walking through her front door.

She and Red began their lives in 1956 in Acton before moving to Boxborough in 1967 to the home that her late daughter-in-law, Amy, fondly dubbed "The Ponderosa." It was there that she raised her family, hosting everything from historic graduation parties, weddings, and Christmases for decades to come. A long time member of the Acton-Boxborough community, she loved the town and walks down her infamously long driveway dearly.

Inevitably through all of her kids’ myriad activities, she became a lifelong sports fan. Marilyn supported all athletic endeavors; from the professional ones her son Bob granted her watching him play for the Boston Bruins, figure skating competitions, horseback riding, tennis, high school football games, to the family yoga sessions led by her daughters, she never missed a beat. You could find her every Sunday at The Ponderosa watching the New England Patriots play (as well as Tom Brady, wherever he went) with her family and beloved dog, Duke.

She was known by Marilyn to many, Mrs. Sweeney or “Momma Celeste” to some, and eventually, Nana to most. Anyone who entered her orbit became extended family; her love and affection, though oftentimes sarcastic, truly knew no bounds. A truly legendary sense of humor earned her countless friendships and community bonds throughout her 85 years. She loved classic films like Easter Parade as much as slasher movies like Silence of the Lambs. Just like her taste in cinema, her hobbies were wide and varied. Nothing brought her joy like her Thai Chi and swim sessions at the gym, and while she didn’t care much for cooking, she learned that she loved when her kids cooked for her.

Mrs. Sweeney was the daughter of Anna Thomson and Robert Thomson of Dorchester. Predeceased by her husband, Robert, she leaves her daughters Cheryl Satryb, of Dracut and her husband Robert, Theresa Sweeney-Krystof of North Conway and her husband, Richard Krystof, Patricia Sweeney of Maynard and her husband Jeff Herd. Jacqueline Sweeney of Waltham and her husband Paul Nelson, and Rose Perkins of Lancaster and her husband Tod; her sons Michael Sweeney of Boxborough and his late wife Amy, and Robert Sweeney Jr. of North Andover and his wife Angela; her brothers Robert and Kevin Thomson; and her grandchildren, Tammie Carr, Stefanie Karpinski and Robert Satryb, Kayla and Shannon Perkins, Ryan, Patrick, Connor, Anna, and Jack Sweeney; and her great-grandchildren Gregory and Chad Carr, and Ryan and Skylar Karpinski, whom she loved more than anything. She is remembered by countless friends and extended family who loved her deeply. All who knew her were better for it.

Due to pandemic restrictions, attendance at the funeral is private. However extended family and friends are welcome to watch the service on Saturday, April 17th at 10:00AM via the Tribucast internet live stream at the following link: https://client.tribucast.com/tcid/82288431

At her request, please wear whatever you like, remembering her favorite color was cranberry. There are no visiting hours. In lieu of flowers, she requested donations be made to The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson to help find a cure for her two children battling this disease. Donations may be made online at michaeljfox.org.

For more information or to send an online condolence please visit www.actonfuneralhome.com/.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Saturday, April 17th, 2021 | 10:00am
    Saturday, April 17th, 2021 10:00am
    Virtual Service
    470 Massachusetts Avenue
    ACTON, MA 01720
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    The link to the service on Saturday, April 17th at 10:00am is as follows:


    Please omit flowers; rather please consider a donation in Mrs. Sweeney's name to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, online at michaeljfox.org
    Rev. Jeffrey Archer
  • Interment

    Mount Hope Cemetery
    180 Central Street
    ACTON, MA 01720
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Burial in the family lot in Mount Hope Cemetery, West Acton, is private.


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Private Condolence

Rose Perkins

Posted at 03:52pm
Sharing the eulogy (words of remembrance) that was delivered at the funeral mass for those who were not able to attend.

It’s sometimes difficult to describe our mom to people who haven’t met her, and we’ve struggled in searching for the words to reflect her spirit. She was an extraordinary human and words don’t do her justice, and never will. But we'll do our best to capture her essence today.

In 1956, Marilyn, the “Duchess of Dorchester”, married Red, the “Baron of Boxboro”. Seven kids and a decade later, they moved their lives to the home my late sister-in-law Amy fondly dubbed ‘The Ponderosa’. It was there that she raised her family, threw epic parties(people came out of the woods days later), celebrated weddings, and hosted the family holiday celebrations for half a century.

There was always an extra seat at our table. Marilyn welcomed anyone who needed a place to lay their head into her home, a giver through and through and hostess to her very core. My brother Michael’s friend nicknamed her “Momma Celeste'' since she was always feeding and caring for dozens of people. In fact Michael’s wife Amy thought her real name was Celeste for the first year they were dating.

When we were older, she took a job as a bus driver for the Acton schools. She drove Bus 10 for more than 25 yrs and was lavished with gifts every holiday from families who adored her. To this day, we still have people telling us how amazing she was to them.

Though she may have spent her twenties having babies, she got the chance to relive them through Michael’s kids, Anna and Jack when they moved in; she was the life of their parties, discovering her affinity for jello shots in addition to her beloved rum and diet cokes.

In our adult life, we grew to love our mom in new ways. She was the glue that binds us, a powerful force that kept us all so connected. We were all so lucky to experience a special friendship with her. Each child and grandchild had a unique relationship with her that went far beyond the typical bond. We loved her because biology told us to, but we adored her because she made life so fun.

She had a sense of humor impossible to replicate or describe in a way that justifies it or that can be shared in church. Her one-liners were the stuff of legends, and in the last 20 years, we can all agree no one ever knew what to expect when she walked in a room. All we knew is we’d leave in stitches, crying from laughter, listening to her stories while sipping her “Clo du Blow” or “Andrew Jackson” wine. An evening in Marilyn’s kitchen was always one for the books, no matter who was in it or what the occasion. We've spent countless hours dancing and singing (badly) to Abba or Frankie Valli, a tradition she was lucky enough to share with her great-grandchildren, too.

It’s still so hard for us to accept this loss. I know 85 may seem old to some, but her 85 was better than your average 50 - thanks to her thai chi and water aerobics. We were wholeheartedly convinced she would be dancing at our kids’ weddings, tearing up the open bar, and cuddling more of her future great-grandchildren. We were positive she was living to 100, she was never really sick a day in her life.

In a million lifetimes, we will never feel ready for a world without her. We’re so relieved she’s no longer in pain and grateful she’s not living a life we all know she’d hate - one without the ability to walk down her driveway or dance around her table. But she’s not really gone, she’s in every joke we tell, in every song we sing out of tune in the kitchen, in every bird we flip, in every roll we’ll burn in her oven. She is so completely a part of the fabric that makes everyone in this room who they are, and all of us are better people for it. We know she’ll be watching over us, and we’ll look for her in the funniest of places -- I’m certain she has many pranks waiting for us up her sleeve.

We loved our mom more than we can express. We hate that we’re all here under these circumstances but so grateful we got the years we did, because anyone who didn’t know her undoubtedly had a life with less color. Though we may never feel quite whole without her, it’s abundantly clear our lives are forever blessed and better by having her in them.

We hope she’s having a drink with Amy, talking about what incredible people her kids turned out to be, and what a privilege it was for her to help them grow. My heart swells when I think of her reuniting with her mom and dad, Bud, and Phil. Maybe even Red -- if he’s lucky 😊.

To Marilyn Ann Sweeney, Mom, Nana, Momma Celeste -- we adore you, we miss you like crazy, and we will take care of each other the way you took care of us. Thank you would never be enough. You were simply the best.

Kevin Thomson

Posted at 11:21am
You were my savior when I was young you were always there when Mom and I needed you . We could never had made it through
the hard times without you. Love you . Miss you Kevin

Susan Nichols

Posted at 09:08pm
Dear Cheryl and family,

So sorry to hear about Marilyn. My prayers go out to all of you. There’s so many great memories of all the Boxboro events that happened in our little town, that you’re parents were a big part of. Coming from a big family also, you will all have and share those good times.
You’re in my thoughts and prayers.

With love,
Susie (Kennedy) Nichols💜

Ann Thomson

Posted at 07:52pm
Auntie Marilyn, and Family,

I am so sorry for your loss. I am thankful for the sweet memories I have had with her, as well as the family. I will always admirer her sense of humor, warmness, confidence, and strong sense of family. It is a privilege to be related to you Aunt Marilyn, and sadly regret not knowing you more.

Your family is in my thoughts during this difficult time.

With love,

Annie T.

Bonnie Cooper

Posted at 08:22am
Patti - I remember meeting your mom and how proud she was of you, and of course her whole family. I'm so sorry for your loss.
Bonnie Cooper

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