2014-12-18 / Obituaries


MUSTOE — Dona Charolette “Char” Cale Sweet, 79, died Dec. 19, 2014, at home in Mustoe, after an extended battle with cancer.

She was born on Dec. 16, 1935 in St. Francis, Kansas, the youngest of three children of Francis Allen Cale and Bernice Julian Cale. 

She lived most of her early life in Wichita, Kansas, where she graduated from North High School in 1953 and Wichita State University in 1958 with a B.A. in speech communications. While at WSU, she married Richard B. Gregg, now deceased, and moved to Pittsburgh, Pa., after graduation and subsequently to State College, Pa., where Dr. Gregg became professor of speech at Pennsylvania State University. 

They had three daughters, Beverly, Stephanie and Kathlyn.

In 1988, she married John R. Sweet and moved to Mustoe, where she immediately became active in Highland County affairs.

She was a founding member of the Highland County Arts Council and initiated art exhibits and receptions for artists at the county library. She was a member of the Highland County Fair Association, and coordinated art and photography exhibits at the annual fair. She worked on the All For Highland Survey, a comprehensive opinion survey of the entire population of the county. She was a founder and organizer of Blue Grass Foods, a natural foods cooperative, and served on the Board of Elections for her precinct for a number of years.

Mrs. Sweet’s personal interests included owning and riding horses, weaving, spinning and all manner of things involving fiber and fabrics. She participated in yoga. Music became a big part of her later life, particularly old-time music. She took up the lap dulcimer, later the hammered dulcimer and, finally, the fiddle.

She took lessons from Gerry Milnes at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, W.Va., and from Two-Gun Terry of Harrisonburg. She later took violin lessons from Gretta Sandberg of Highland, and played in the Allegheny Mountain String Project and the Allegheny Highlands Strings Orchestra in Covington. She attended the Amateur Chamber Music Retreat at Garth Newel Music Center several times. Her last project was making baskets, which occupied much of her time in 2014.

She is survived by her husband, John R. Sweet of Mustoe; her sisters, June West and Thelma Kallam, of Orcas Island, Washington; her daughters, Beverly Stanley of Hatfield, Pa., Stephanie Brondani of Minnetonka, Minn., and Kathlyn Smith of Roanoke; five grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and several nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held in the spring, at a time and place to be announced. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the Highland County Public Library, P.O. Box 519, Monterey, Va. 24465; the Highland County Arts Council, P.O. Box 175, Monterey, Va., 24465; or the Allegheny Mountain String Project, c/o Garth Newel Music Center, 403 Garth Newel Lane, Hot Springs, Va. 24445, with check marked to benefit the AMSP.

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