GEORGE A. SWEETEN had a distinguished career as a detective with the police department of camden NJ. He joined the force in his early 30s, and was known to his brother officers as "Pappy" Sweeten.

Prior to joining the police department, George Sweeten had a career as a race car driver. He was the 1965 co-champion driver on the American Three-Quarter Midget Racing Association (ATQMRA) circuit. On January 29, 1966 he won an indoor race at the Boardwalk Convention Hall in Atlantic City NJ. 

In 1969 he joined the Camden Police Department, where he rose to the rank of Detective. George Sweeten served Camden for 25 years, retiring in 1994. 

George A. Sweeten passed away on December 20, 2007 at the age of 74. He was survived by his wife Deanna, three daughters, and five grandchildren.

New York Times * May 13, 1983

Worker Is Killed In Camden Blast

One man was killed today and three others were injured in an explosion in the Federal Building here. The explosion was apparently caused as fuel fumes in a boiler ignited when a new burner was turned on, officials said.

The building houses the Post Office and Federal courts. Pablo Santiago, a state boiler inspector at the scene, said it appeared the heating system had not been purged of potentially explosive gases before the burner's electric igniter was activated.

Detective George Sweeten identified the dead man as 32-year-old Kenneth Bush of Marlton, an employee of F.M. North Associates of Pennsauken.

A passer-by was treated for eye irritation and two ambulance attendants were treated for smoke inhalation, according to Robina Phoenix, a spokesman for Cooper Hospital and University Medical Center.

New York Times * February 5, 1984

Body Found of Victim in Drownings

The body of a young boy, tentatively identified as the son of a woman who has been charged with pushing her four children off a bridge to their deaths in the Cooper River, was found on a bank of the river today by two passers-by, the police said.

Detective George Sweeten said the police had tentatively identified the boy as 5 1/2-year-old Emilio Wright, son of Jeanne A. Wright, who has pleaded not guilty to four counts of homicide.

An assistant Camden County prosecutor, Dennis Wixted, said an autopsy was to be performed Sunday. He would not speculate on the identity of the child.

Camden Courier-Post * December 23, 2007

On December 20, 2007 of Cherry Hill, NJ. Age 74.
Beloved husband of 43 years to Deanna E. (nee Dekal). Loving father of Lisa Manera and her husband Steven of Mt. Laurel, NJ; Tracy Kelleher and her husband Christopher Esq. of Marlton, NJ and Valerie Dippner and her husband James of Cherry Hill, NJ. Devoted pop-pop of Emily, Jenna, Lindsey, Maggie, and James George.
An Army veteran of the Korean Conflict; Mr. Sweeten worked as a Detective for the Camden City Police Dept. for 25 years before retiring in 1994. He was an accomplished fine artist and an international race car champion.
Relatives and friends will gather Thursday evening from 6 to 7pm in St. Peter Celestine RC Church, 402 N. Kings Highway, Cherry Hill, NJ. Mass of Christian Burial Thursday evening 7pm. Interment private. In lieu of flowers contributions in his memory may be made to Samaritan Hospice 5 Eves Drive, Suite 300, Marlton, NJ 08053.Arrangements by the SCHETTER FUNERAL HOME of Cherry Hill, NJ.

Camden Courier-Post * June 227, 2008

Policeman gave up car-racing career

Courier-Post Staff

George Sweeten of Cherry Hill, the ultimate family man, left a part-time career racing cars because those who loved him judged it a risky activity.

"He gave that up because it was too dangerous," says Tracy Kelleher of Marlton, one of three daughters. "He became a Camden police officer instead."

Kelleher chuckled at the irony of her beloved dad switching from navigating a high-speed track to navigating the mean streets of a poor, urban city.

"We always joked about that," Kelleher recalls.

Sweeten would have likely joined in the laughter.

"Funny, funny," is how his widow, Deanna, describes her husband of 43 years. "Sarcastic sense of humor. Very dry sense of humor."

Sweeten died last month of cancer. He was 74.

Because he didn't join the police force until he was in his early 30s -- older than the typical rookie -- Sweeten was known as "Pappy," says a former partner, William Latham of Moorestown. Latham remembers how he and Sweeten, both detectives, once followed and arrested armed bank robbers in downtown Camden.

"He was a good guy to work with, straight as an arrow so you didn't have to worry about him," says Latham, now 72 and retired from law enforcement. "He was an honest cop, an all-around good guy."

Kelleher says the job affected her dad.

"It was very difficult," she recalls. "He would get very upset about things that happened."

A man of many talents, Sweeten raced midget cars and once bested famed driver Mario Andretti in a race, Deanna Sweeten said. He worked as a sign painter and was also an accomplished artist who favored acrylic paints and landscapes and covered bridges.

But Sweeten was modest about his skills, Kelleher says.

"It was just something he did. He never (formally) studied it, but he studied it on his own."

Sweeten discussed his paintings -- and many aspects of his life -- with folks others may not have noticed.

"He was a fantastic artist," says Susan Presper of Haddonfield, a cashier at the Pathmark in Cherry Hill, where Sweeten shopped. Asked if she had seen his art, she said no.

"I saw it through his eyes when he would talk to me," she explains. Presper knew Sweeten as "Maggie's Pop-Pop"; Maggie Dippner is one of five Sweeten grandchildren. The girl often accompanied her grandfather to the store.

"He was a family man, no doubt," Presper recalls. "When it came to family, he was mush."

Presper and Kelleher say when the end was near, Sweeten called in the husbands of his three daughters -- Kelleher, Valerie Dippner of Cherry Hill and Lisa Manera of Mount Laurel.

Take care of my daughters, he told his sons-in-law.