UUFE’s Ron Sweet answers UU liFE’s Five Big Questions and tells about trading DC for Easton (easy), choosing between Seattle and Alburquerque (too hard), flying the Great Hawaiian Air Race, building his own aircraft, and finding his way back to UUFE.
Where were you raised, and how?
I was raised, along with my two brothers and a sister, in a small Ohio town. Dad was a high school principal. Mom was a full-time homemaker. It was a home with a lot of unspoken love.
Our family was very involved in a Presbyterian church where Dad served as an elder.
How have you made your living?
After college, I spent the next decade in Washington, DC attending medical school and doing a residency in obstetrics and gynecology. My wife, Nancy, and I met in medical school. After completing residency training, I practiced in Washington while Nancy completed her medical training.
We have always felt very fortunate to have been able to spend that period of our lives in such a fascinating city with so much to offer. However, after completing our training, settling into a daily work routine, and having our first son, we felt we would much prefer to forgo the big city hassles for a smaller community life style. We ended up here in Easton and have felt that moving here was one of the best decisions that we have made.
What’s the most remarkable thing you’ve done?
For a period of time, my hobby and passion was flying. I spent seven years building an airplane which I then flew on various trips from the Caribbean to the West Coast. Besides building and flying my own plane, the other highlight was flying in the Great Hawaiian Air Race in 2000. The race departed Honolulu Airport then hopped around the islands for two days with an overnight in Hana. The stay in Hana included a visit to the nearby grave of Charles Lindbergh.
The completion of the race was an especially memorable and moving experience for me. The landing was at Ford Island Naval Air Station in Pearl Harbor. Ford Island NAS was targeted and suffered, along with the naval vessels, during the attack on Pearl Harbor. At the time of the Great Hawaiian Air Race, Ford Field was no longer an active airfield. However, by special arrangement, it was briefly opened for the race’s completion. Some of the structures on the field at the time were the ones there during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Some still had bullet holes remaining in the walls. The tarmac on which we parked also showed bullet strikes in places.
What’s the Next Big Thing for you?
We now have one son in Albuquerque and the other in Seattle. So far, we have no grandkids, only a granddog and a grandcat. Even without grandkids, as time passes, we are feeling a growing desire to be nearer our sons. The challenge will be to figure out how to divide our time between Albuquerque and Seattle in a way that works for everyone.
How did UUFE and you find each other?
Our spiritual journey has been one probably best described as wandering. When our boys were young, we started looking for a “right spiritual home”. We started with the Easton UU group back when it was meeting in the Women’s Club. We were with the group during the transition to the Jewish synagogue and then to the present location. We then thought we would explore other religious traditions.
What did you find?
We found each tradition has something to teach and add to one’s journey. I can probably best sum it up by saying that it has left me with fewer answers and many more questions.
We now have found our way back to where we started, at UUFE.