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1942 Peter 2023

Peter Sortwell Sweet

June 6, 1942 — April 1, 2023

Peter Sortwell Sweet of Portsmouth, RI peacefully passed away on April 1, 2023 at the age of 80. Born on June 6, 1942 at the Boston Lying-In. Peter was the son of the late Alfred J. Sweet Jr. and Elise Sortwell Sweet Wigglesworth. He never remembered his father, who was a spotter pilot shot down over France during WWII when Peter was two. Peter was the second youngest of four Sweets. All six siblings were raised in Beverly Farms, MA where they enjoyed many idyllic summers on West Beach and winters playing pond hockey.

He graduated from the Pomfret School in 1960 and Colgate University in 1964 with a BA in History. While at Colgate, he played Division 1 soccer. Upon college graduation, Peter enlisted in the United States Navy. OCS brought him to Newport for training, and soon after, he was deployed to Vietnam on the USS Valley Forge. He returned to civilian life in 1968.

Later Peter lived in Hong Kong for a brief time. Back home he drove across the US several times in his beloved 1953 MG Roadster with the top down, packing fan belts, fuses, and a great sense of optimism for British engineering! While his peers were listening to the Beatles or attending Woodstock, Peter could be found in jazz clubs hearing his faves, the MJQ, Art Blakey, Tina Turner and James Brown to name a few.

Peter had a successful career as an advertising copywriter at Hill Holliday in Boston, winning the prestigious Hatch Award on more than one occasion. He loved the English language and was an avid reader and collector of books, especially British mysteries - anything by PG Wodehouse or focused on WWII.

In 1977 he married Elizabeth Barry Sweet and had two daughters, Elise Barry Sweet (Brady) and Patricia Sortwell Sweet. Peter loved having girls and was overjoyed with the addition of two granddaughters, Julia and Emma Brady. Peter adored his immediate and extended family and cherished those times together. The family lived in Newburyport, Concord, MA and Rhode Island.

At 52, Peter suffered a major stroke which prevented him from returning to work. He was left partially paralyzed, but this never stopped him from having a fulfilling second chapter of his life. He traveled extensively, seeking out the best used bookstores. Nearer to home, he trekked to the Garden to see his beloved Bruins play in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals and was often found on road trips to visit friends near and far. A sunroof opened year 'round, jazz blasting, and a trusty can of red Coke Classic to stay sharp were all he needed to drive for hours just to drop in and say, "how do?". If he really liked you, there might be a gift, one that he'd painstakingly wrapped with one hand. Usually it would be a book - one he knew you'd love, always with a thoughtful handwritten inscription inside.

Peter was also a talented photographer with an 'artistic eye'. Throughout his life, he used his camera to capture the streets less traveled, the signs of everyday life or simply a subject's color which became the priority and focus of the image. Many of these photos became the foundation of calendars or framed prints he would bestow upon his close friends and family.

Peter will be remembered fondly for his sense of humor, his intelligence, his infectious laugh and bright smile. In addition to his parents, he is also predeceased by his two sisters Dr. Pauline Sweet and Elise Wylde Dean and a brother Alfred J. Sweet III. He is survived by his wife and confidante, Elizabeth Barry Sweet, his daughters Elise Sweet Brady (Michael) of Portsmouth, RI and Patricia Sortwell Sweet of Los Angeles, his brother Thomas Wigglesworth of Beverly Farms, MA, his sister Anne Wigglesworth Walker of Lenexa, Kansas, his granddaughters Julia and Emma Brady, and several nieces, nephews, cousins and many cherished friends. A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held on a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Redwood Library and Athenaeum.
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