Willard Rivers Sweet, Jr., known to all as “Bill”, 96, of Franklin, NH and formerly of Bristol, NH and East Greenwich, RI, passed away peacefully at home at the Golden Crest Assisted Living Facility on December 12, 2021.
Willard was born in Providence, RI on July 5, 1925. He grew up in Cranston and attended Cranston High School. Before graduation, Bill was drafted into the service, joining the 8th Army Air Force in 1943. He was part of the European Campaign in World War II from 1943 until the war’s end in 1945. Bill was stationed in Sudbury, England and was a member of the 486th Bomb Group, serving in the 832nd Bomb Squadron. Flying B-17's, he served as the squadron’s Ball Turret Gunner and flew 33 missions before the end of the war. Bill also doubled as the Radio Operator for his squadron. In total, Bill earned 9 medals for his exemplary service, 5 of which were Air Medals. Upon returning home, Bill completed his graduation requirements and graduated with his younger brother from Cranston High School in 1947. Bill went on to receive a BS degree in Business Administration from Bryant College.
Bill married his wife Meredith in 1950 and the couple raised their 3 children in East Greenwich, RI. He worked for over 25 years for Uniroyal and US Golf Balls before retiring. With their children grown, Bill and Meredith relocated to Bristol, NH, where he worked for 30 years in the Real Estate business, most of which was spent with Century 21. He joined Old Mill Properties briefly but retired from real estate at the age of 90. Bill and Meredith moved from Bristol, NH to the Golden Crest Living Facility in Franklin, NH in 2017.
In his 96 years, Bill lived life to its fullest. His family meant the world to him. Bill and Meredith enjoyed visits from their friends and their children and their families. Bill loved taking his grandchildren out to see and participate in what the beautiful state of NH had to offer. The life lessons and the love that he selflessly gave will forever be in the hearts of all who knew him. Bill’s co-workers, friends and his family all were, without exception, the recipients of and witnesses to his wonderfully witty and dry sense of humor. Bill was a golfer, an accomplished cook and grill master, a prolific reader and coin collector. Upon his passing, Bill had been the last surviving member of the 832nd Bomb Squadron.
Bill was predeceased in August by his beloved wife of 71 years, Meredith K. (McDowell) Sweet. He was also predeceased by his parents Willard R. Sweet, Sr. and Edna (Searcy) Sweet, his younger brother Brig. Gen. Richard S. Sweet (Ret.), his son-in-law Lt. Lewis G. Johnson (Ret.) and granddaughter Shaelynn M. Lomastro. Bill is survived by his 3 daughters: Sherrill L. Lomastro of Palermo, ME, Debra K. Sweet of Middlesex, PA and Carol F. Johnson of Fryeburg, ME and 11 grandchildren: Liza B. Lomastro, Leah N. Lomastro, Jenna L. Dinsmore and her husband Ryan, Michael A. Lomastro, Rachel S. Lomastro, Stefani P. Lomastro, Andrea R. Lomastro and Daniel Lomastro, Nicholas A. Johnson, Ashley C. Johnson and her husband Justin T. Keene and Heather M. Johnson and her husband Dennis T. Screnci, Jr. Bill was also the loving great-grandfather to Justin J. Keene, Jr., Jadyn B. Keene and Luca T. Screnci.
Graveside service and interment will take place in Pocasset Cemetery, 417 Dyer Ave., Cranston, RI on Monday, January 3, 2022 at 1 pm. Those that wish may make donations in Bill’s memory to the Veteran’s Association of New Hampshire.
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