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Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Lenora Elizabeta Stoia Sweet - Obituary

This is the obituary my husband, Mike, wrote about his mother. He told me he wrote a long one because it may be the only document available to the grandchildren and great-grandchildren about their ancestors and their ancestry. But I think the truth is that he wrote it long to honor his mother.
Sweet, Lenora E

(Nee Stoia) age 90, of Milwaukee, passed away peacefully on Friday, January 20, 2017 at Brookdale Senior Living Brookfield WI. 

Beloved mother of Michael (Gail) of Milwaukee WI, Douglas of Greenfield WI, Robert (Deborah) of Horizon City TX, Steven of Aurora CO, and the late Marilyn (Timothy) Pappas of Franklin WI.

Dear grandmother of Charles (Katie), Brian (Rachl), Anna, Matthew (Stephanie), Andy (Valerie), Ben, Hannah, Mark, Daniel, Sarah, and Tessa.

Honored great-grandmother of Oliver, David, Simon, Liam, Isaac, Maximus, Eliana, Ethan, Evan, Emily, Natalie, the late Jackson, and Ryan.

Survived by her brother Dennis (Peggy) Stoia of Somonauk IL and Mary Jane (the late Pete) Hotopp of Sandwich IL.

Preceded in death by her parents Ian (“John”) and Seana Stoia of Aberdeen SD, by her three brothers John (Virginia) Stoia of Tulsa OK, Viorel (Donna) Stoia of Aberdeen SD, George (Kitty) Stoia of Bartlesville OK, and by her sister Olivia (the late Donnel) Javoroski of Mosinee WI.

Further survived by many nephews and nieces.

Lenora was born on August 20, 1926, in Aberdeen, South Dakota. She was the third of seven children born to Romanian immigrants, John and Seana Stoia from Dragus Village in the Transylvania mountains. In 1944, she graduated from Aberdeen Central High School. Her father worked for the Milwaukee Road railroad which allowed his family to travel freely. In 1945, on a visit to Milwaukee, she was introduced to Gerald (“Jerry”) Sweet. In 1946, she moved to Milwaukee and began dating Jerry.

Jerry and Lenora married in September 1948 in Milwaukee. During their 48 years of marriage they raised five children. Jerry preceded Lenora in death on August 25, 1996. 

Lenora was a hardworking homemaker who became an active volunteer at St Rita Parish in West Allis through the Christian Mothers’ Society, Parent Teacher Association, Cub Scouts, and Girl Scouts. As her children entered high school, she became active in Home and School activities at Don Bosco, Thomas More, and Pius High Schools. She was very supportive of her children’s participation in wrestling, basketball, and football. She was their number one fan.

In 1976, at age 50, Lenora began a 30-year career working for the Milwaukee Public Schools – Division of Recreation and Community Services. She coordinated social clubs and served as a resource person and planner of in-service activities, exhibits, volunteer recognition events, and Seniorfest. She assisted with intergenerational fairs involving older adults and schoolchildren. Lenora excelled at leading trips and historical city tours.

June 15, 2005 was proclaimed Lenora Sweet Day by the Mayor of Milwaukee as Lenora was awarded the 2005 Spirit in Aging Award for her community service, creative ideas, grandmothering, and hours volunteering.

Her hobbies included flower arranging, cake decorating, playing cards, and planning parties. She traveled around the world and toured architectural and historical sites, including a trip to her ancestral home in Romania with her mother, husband, brothers, and their wives.

Many thanks to the loving people who cared for her during the past five-plus years while she suffered with Alzheimer’s type dementia.

Visitation will be held at 5pm on Thursday Jan. 26, concluding with a prayer vigil at 7:30pm at Schaff Funeral Service, West Allis WI.

An hour of visitation will be held beginning at 9am followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10am on Friday, January 27 at St Rita Catholic Church, West Allis, WI. 

Following Mass, burial will be in Wisconsin Memorial Park in Brookfield, WI.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to St. Rita Parish, The Marianists, or a charity of your choice.
St. Rita Parish, 2318 S 61st St., West Allis, WI 53219

The Marianists Province of the United States, 4425 W. Pine Blvd., St. Louis, MO 63108-2301


  1. I was very impressed by Lenora's obit in the Milwaukee Journal. It was so full of details that I felt I knew her a little by the time I was done reading it. I thought surely you, Gail wrote it so it's nice to know that Mike wrote it and with great love for his mom. I was also awed because I know how very expensive it is to have a long death notice so I thought what an honor to have such a long and detailed obit. The funeral home actually talked me into a shorter one than the one I had written for Dave which I did that night when I came home from the hospital. It was kind of my first step in grief therapy to write it. They did use it and print all of it for the funeral home and gave me two laminated copies of the entire thing.

    1. Thank you my Bethy! Yup, Mikey is a good writer...all that Catholic grade school education and those smart nuns! You're right that it's expensive to pay for a long death notice...but the family all loved it so I guess they thought it was worth it. Funeral home workers can be so helpful...ours made nice copies for us also. Bless 'em!