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Donna Sweeney

Donna Lynn Sweeney

Tuesday, September 25th, 1962 - Friday, June 14th, 2019
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Donna Lynn Sweeney, 56, died peacefully on June 14, 2019 at Inova Fairfax Hospital. She dearly loved her husband and family, and faithfully served the Fairfax County Public Schools and Centreville High School and their English Departments until she became ill with a recurrent form of cancer in April.

Donna leaves behind her beloved husband, Scott, of 38 years, her mother, Margaret Shields, her father, Lonnie Shields, her brother and sister-in-law, Scott Shields and Karen Caramella Shields, her niece, Kimberlynn Shields, and her father-in-law, Les Sweeney, all of Reno, NV, her nephew, Stephen Shields, of Las Vegas, NV, brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Glenn and Kumiko Sweeney, and her two nephews, Len and Jay Sweeney, all of Tokyo, Japan.

Donna was born on September 25, 1962, in Miles City, MT, to Lonnie and Margaret Shields, and spent her early childhood in Eastern Montana, and later, Reno, NV, where nearly everyone in her family was involved in education, either teaching, school administration, or otherwise working in some capacity for the local school district. She loved books at an early age, later becoming a speed reader, and was active in ballet. She met her future husband, Scott, at the age of 14 in her Honors English Class at Reno High School, and she was active editing the high school yearbook.

Donna married Scott on June 13, 1981 after her first year in college. Soon after, Donna moved to Washington, DC, where she worked at a corporate legislative affairs office. Over the next six years, she followed Scott during his Air Force active duty time to Southern California, and later, The Netherlands and Germany, where they traveled all over Europe. In 1990, they moved back to Reno, NV, and Donna finished up her bachelor’s degrees in both English and History at the University of Nevada, Reno, specializing in the English Tudor period. In 1993, they moved to Tokyo, Japan, where she taught English at a private Japanese high school.

Throughout her life, Donna wanted to teach like many other members of her family, especially her Uncle Mel Shields. In 1998, she received her secondary school teaching credential in Nevada, and she began teaching English at various high schools in the Washoe County School District in Northern Nevada. In 2011, she made her home in Northern Virginia, and began working as an English Teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools, first at South Lakes High School in Reston, and later, Centreville High School, in Clifton. She thoroughly loved all the staff and her students, and she especially enjoyed teaching Shakespeare.

Donna had a voracious appetite for books and movies. She loved animals, and had beagle dogs several years of her life, especially Bandit, whom she spoiled dearly. Donna was an active traveler, living three years in Europe, three years in Japan, had multiple trips and cruises to the Caribbean and Mexico, traveled throughout the West, and later, up and down the East Coast.

Family will receive friends on Saturday, June 29, 2019, at 11:00 am to 1:00 pm. at Baker-Post Funeral Home & Cremation Center 10001 Nokesville Rd. Manassas, VA, to be followed by a Celebration of Life at 1:00 pm.

In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to be made to the “Donna Sweeney Scholarship Fund.”

The family would also like to offer their deepest gratitude for the loving care and treatment received at Inova Fairfax Hospital in the final stage of her life.

Interment will be private and at a later date.

Please sign the guest book at www.bakerpostfh.com.
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Saturday, June 29th, 2019 | 11:00am - 1:00pm
    Saturday, June 29th, 2019 11:00am - 1:00pm
    Baker-Post Funeral Home & Cremation Center
    10001 Nokesville Road
    MANASSAS, VA 20110
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Saturday, June 29th, 2019 | 1:00pm
    Saturday, June 29th, 2019 1:00pm
    Baker-Post Funeral Home & Cremation Center
    10001 Nokesville Road
    MANASSAS, VA 20110
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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Posted at 05:27pm
Donna Sweeney - a dear friend, amazing teacher, confidant. She always had an ear for listening, an idea for a lesson, a pithy comment about our beloved FCPS. She was always worried that she was not doing enough for her students. She regularly lost sleep over them. She was touched to the point of tears whenever she received a thank you, a gift, an acknowledgement of her efforts to help her charges succeed. She saved all of them. Donna, I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you are now cavorting with two of your best buds - Geoff Chaucer and Bill Shakespeare. I miss you so, so much.

Suzanne Dukes

Posted at 11:18pm
I was so fortunate to be able to see Donna (Bandit’s mom, as we called her) every day at Dogtopia for many years. She was hands down the sweetest and nicest person I had the pleasure of knowing. Every time I heard her voice in the lobby I made sure to come out to chat with her to hear about her day. She just instantly had me in a happy mood..and her cute dog was a bonus! We deeply miss Bandit and Donna. Our sincere condolences to her family.

Stephanie McFarlane

Posted at 02:51pm
My daughter had Mrs Sweeney this year for English. When I met Mrs Sweeney at back to school night, I came home and said that she was a teacher that loved teaching. I also told my daughter that when she looked back over her teachers Mrs Sweeney would be one of the best. Her thoughtful notes each quarter were amazing!! I was so sad when I learned that her cancer had returned and that she wasn't returning after spring break. Thank you Mrs Sweeney for your love of teaching and for making a difference in the lives of so many!! To the Sweeney family, my deepest sympathy and heartfelt condolences.

Taha Elhoumaidi

Posted at 03:49pm
Ms. Sweeney will forever be the greatest teacher I ever had. I learned so much more from her class than just English because she taught from the heart. I was so fearful of the English sol because I couldn't write to save my life and felt like there was too much pressure on me since I needed it to graduate. She helped me improve my writing skills and reading comprehension so much that I pass advanced it and I just wish she had been around to find out. Her teaching not only helped in me in this subject, but helped me realize my potential as a student. Through her skillful teaching I realized all my mistakes and have since achieved more than I ever imagined I would. I will never forget everything she did for me, as she is the reason I passed my classes, by showing me skills and lessons that would help me in and out of the classroom. Many days I would be feeling down, and the sound of her reading a story would get me excited from the moment I walked through the door. Her way of teaching was deep, thorough and enlightening. I truly wish more teachers could be like her, as she was a role model, and contributed so much to all our education.

Christian Brown

Posted at 11:37pm
I will never forget the only time how she, the only teacher I've had, has personally made an effort to handwrite a letter of how well one of her students is doing in her class and sent it directly to my door. I loved having her class for I've learned much about writing and because of it I have started many projects and fun stories. She was the fairest and most honest and kind teacher whom I admired the most in Centreville HS. It saddens me just as it saddens all that she has passed however, I am relieved to hear and know she with the angels above and will be taken care of with the love we send. Thank you for your kind and dutiful service Ms.Sweeney. I will never forget.

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