Bridget "Bea" Sweet Obituary

Bridget "Bea" Sweet

October 8, 1919 - October 23, 2020
Born in Chicago, Illinois
Resided in Des Moines, Iowa
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Bridget (Bea) Sweet passed away peacefully early on the morning of October 23, 2020. Her body will be cremated and a private service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the St. Augustin Catholic Church Foundation.

Bea was born in Chicago, Illinois on October 8, 1919 to Steve and Anne Karschnia Kiser. She had two sisters and a brother. Her parents and siblings all preceded her in death.

Bea trained as a symphony violinist but chose to pursue a career in nursing. After completing her training, she joined American Airlines at a time when a stewardess needed training as a nurse. It was while flying with American that Bea met Bowman (Bo) Sweet. He was a Marine pilot. After a whirlwind courtship they were married in 1942, shortly before he was assigned to the Pacific Theater.

After the war Bea and Bo settled in Des Moines. Bea took a position as a nurse with the Des Moines public schools. While working, she committed herself to achieving a Masters Degree from Drake University, a goal that required 12 years of dedication.

Bea and Bo had two children, Ronald and Carol. Both predeceased her, but she is survived by Carol's children, Ryan Austin and Whitney Austin Gray; and by three great grandsons, Miles, Cassius and Hunter.

Bea balanced motherhood and a career. She stayed current with research in the fields of childhood development and nutrition. She was in the forefront of sexual education and made numerous presentations to students and adults. During the summer breaks she took classes and helped chaperone student trips to Europe with her friend, Dick Treman.

After many years working directly with students, Bea moved to the district office to coordinate all of the nurses in the Des Moines system. She retired in 1985.

Bea's favorite pass-time was bridge. In retirement she was able to focus on the game and organized a large, monthly charitable game with over a hundred regular players. With the help of her friend, Georgie Hoester, these games continued for more than 25 years.

At the age of 90 Bea finally left her home of 60 years and moved to Scottish Rite Park. It wasn’t long before she had organized another bridge group and continued playing duplicate bridge at the Bridge House.

Throughout her life Bea was a devoted Catholic, sending her children to Catholic schools and volunteering many hours to the church. A highlight for her was the Pope's visit to Iowa in the late 70's. That day she and her daughter, Carol, walked miles to participate in the mass the Pope held at Living History Farms in Urbandale, Iowa.

In the 101 years of her life Bea witnessed huge changes in the world: a depression and a world war, two pandemics, and the loss of her husband and both children. Throughout it all she remained strong and resilient and lived a very full life. She may fairly claim the biblical quote: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith"( 2 Timothy 4:7).







St. Augustin Foundation
545 42nd Street
Des Moines, IA US 50312