Owen McGovern Sweeney

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Owen McGovern Sweeney

April 09, 2002 - September 29, 2018

Owen McGovern Sweeney Owen McGovern Sweeney was so eager to join the world that he was born two weeks early, on April 9, 2002 in Plattsburgh, N.Y. Every day for the next sixteen years was pursued with energy and enthusiasm as he sought to understand, engage with, and enjoy his life and the world around him. His tragic death by suicide has led to his also leaving the world much too soon. He died at the Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, Mass. on Sept. 29, 2018, surrounded by his loving family and attended to by a wonderfully kind and caring medical staff.
Owen grew up and spent much of his life on his family's 26 acre property on Hardy Road in Wilmington, where along with his older brother, Tys, he learned to explore, bike ride, run, play, and enjoy the world. They invented games in the woods, learned the names of the rocks and trees, played with the many family dogs in the meadow, and together helped their father build a lean-to in a secluded spot with views of mountains and sky in all directions.
Owen was intellectually curious, took naturally to languages, excelled at math, and was a talented actor. He was fluent in Spanish, studied Mandarin Chinese, and had just started French and Russian at the time of his death. He brought his analytical mind into all his classes, excelling in all academic areas. He loved math and science challenges, and wrote beautiful, descriptive and insightful essays. He often built Rube-Goldberg style creations throughout the house, provided magic tricks for friends and family, and would liven any gathering with his games, antics, and parody. He could imitate voices of famous people or make up his own witty characters to amuse both other people and himself. He would make fresh ice cream whenever he could, always attempting new flavors, and he almost always won at chess. He loved exploring and traveling to new places, always hoping for another family trip to a new part of the country. He was a very hard worker, and spent the last two summers waiting tables at the Wilmington A&W. A long standing desire had been to visit two of his closest friends who had moved to Montevideo, Uruguay. He planned for almost a year, and used his summer earnings to make this trip with his mother in December 2017.
He attended Little Peaks pre-school in Keene, and Ausable Forks Elementary School in Ausable Forks until 3rd grade.
He was a student at North Country School (NCS) in Lake Placid from 4th to 9th grade. NCS was and remained Owen's primary community away from home, and it was there that his love of theater truly took root. He took advantage of every acting class and workshop and participated in a number of productions, playing everything from a flying monkey to Charlie in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory. Owen was a skilled horseback rider and a member of the school's equestrian drill team. Owen took full advantage of the arts and outdoor programs, designing exceptional weavings, running cross-country, and learning to downhill ski, telemark ski, and rock climb. He cheerfully undertook all the work of the community there, from scrubbing dishes in the kitchen to sitting with the sheep all night as the lambs were born.
After NCS, Owen attended Buxton School in Williamstown, Mass. While there, he performed in several theater productions, most notably Middletown and The Laramie Project, and was a member of the school's African Drumming troupe, math team, and soccer and ultimate frisbee teams. Also, true to his entrepreneurial spirit, he operated a small soda and snacks business out of his dorm room.
He loved being around friends and groups of like-minded people. He truly cared for his friends, and would offer advice and support whenever he could. All who knew him praised him for his skill, generosity, and energy. We know that his donation of life will be received with gratitude by those unknown people whose lives have been touched by his organ donation.
Owen was a bold and beautiful boy who was loved deeply and will be thought of every day. We are all grateful to have shared sixteen years of life with him. Survivors include his parents, John C. Sweeney and Lauren E. McGovern, his brother, Tys McGovern Sweeney, all of Wilmington; grandparents, Eleanor Sweeney of Saranac Lake, Bill and Susan Sweeney of Menands, and Jerome and Barbara McGovern of Peru; and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.
Anyone wishing to make a donation in Owen's memory may make a contribution to NCS in support of The Walter P. Breeman Performing Arts Center currently being built there, which will house a new theater to engage and inspire future generations of young actors and other performers at the school: North Country School, 4382 Cascade Road, Lake Placid, NY 12946 or on the web at https://www.northcountryschool.org/support-ncs/walter-p-breeman/breeman-giving-page
Please help bring more awareness to suicide prevention efforts in Essex County or in your own community. If you wish to help the cause locally, you can contribute in support of the Mobile Crisis Services team by donating to the Mental Health Association in Essex County, 6096 NYS Route 9N, Westport, N.Y. 12993.
A gathering to remember and celebrate Owen's energy and life will be held from 11 AM to 2 PM on Sunday, Oct. 28 at the Craig Wood Golf & Country Club, 141 Country Club Lane, Lake Placid, N.Y. This will be an opportunity for all who wish to speak, share memories and meet others who shared time with Owen. Doors will open at 10:30 for those wishing to arrive early.
Published on October 5, 2018
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