Fred Sweeney for many years known as the “King of Bar-B-Que of San Luis Obispo County” passed from this life on November 11, 2020 with his family by his side in Arroyo Grande. Fred was a county native who spent most of his adult life in his beloved valley. This past November 8th would have marked the seventy third wedding anniversary for Fred and his wife, Barbara May Sweeney, who preceded him in death in December 2016. Barbara was a descendent of the Simas family of the Santa Maria Valley.
The Sweeney family were an integral part of the city of San Luis Obispo, where Sweeney Lane is named in their honor. Fred, the youngest of six siblings, had to learn early of many of lifes responsibilities when his parents died when his was of an early age. As a child of the Great depression he started working at the age of 13 plowing the fields of the Marre Ranch, now the site of Diablo Canyon power plant, driving overnight short haul truck at 19 between SLO and LA, and for many years he sold salt block and other medical and agriculture supplies for E.C. Loomis and Sons. As a young boy he spent years living and working on many of the dairies that dotted the Los Osos and Edna valley area. He graduated from San Luis Obispo High School where he played first string half-back with the Tigers and later played in local football leagues.
Fred's barbecue business made him a bit of local legend. His greatest working pleasure was serving his famous menu, along with his son, Allen Sweeney, to thousands throughout San Luis Obispo county, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. For almost twenty years he prepared meals for the celebrities who provided entertainment on the main stage at the Paso Robles Mid-State Fair, as well as serving his famous oak barbecued tri-tip sandwiches with all the trimmings, at the north end of the mid-way of the fair.
In addition to his business he spent many years as a member of the Arroyo Grande Kiwanis Club and was part of the group that devoted many years to the valley's youth baseball programs and the development of Soto Field. He always knew the value of service to others and was always there to help.
Fred also was an honoree member of the Cal Poly Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity where he provided many students a way to earn money to achieve their degrees. Additionally, he was proud of his children and grandchildren who went on to achieve their college degrees.
Fred was a loyal and devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great grandfather. He is survived by his three children, Fred L. Sweeny (Jane), Allen W. Sweeney (Laura), and his daughter Karen Sweeney, six grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Due to the pandemic a celebration of his life will be scheduled once it is safe to do so.
The family would like to thank his physician Dr. Ardeshir Talleh and the “angels” of Hospice.
Donations can be made to Hospice and the Arroyo Grande Valley Kiwanis club, Arroyo Grande High School Scholarship Fund.
Sign up to get the most recent local obituaries delievered to your inbox.