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— Mayor Pro Tem Bill Sweeney, who served on the City Council for nine years and fought blight in the suburb, died Tuesday of natural causes.

A 29-year resident of Eastpointe, Sweeney served three years as mayor pro tem, according to a press release from the city. He was 53.

Mayor Suzanne Pixley said she first met Sweeney when both ran for the City Council nine years ago. She said he was a compassionate servant of Eastpointe who lent a great deal of common sense to city government.

"He always loved the community and he always wanted Eastpointe to do as good as it possibly could do," Pixley said. "He cared about the residents, especially about young families.

"I was a single parent raising five children, and life wasn't easy for either one of us. So we really wanted to do whatever would benefit the maximum number of residents."

During his years serving Eastpointe, Sweeney spearheaded an ordinance that holds landlords responsible for maintaining property. He was also instrumental in the creation of other blight-related legislation.

Pixley said he was fiscally responsible and made tough decisions, but he would support spending if it helped the city.

"When we had to reduce the amount of staff we didn't want to do layoffs," Pixley said. "We wanted to reduce it through attrition. But he was not afraid to make expenditures when he knew that it would be beneficial to the community."

Sweeney was active with the 8K Homeowner's Association — which dealt with resident concerns in the Eight Mile and Kelly area — and was heavily involved in youth sports, coaching baseball and roller hockey, Pixley said.

A 1978 graduate of Fordson High School in Dearborn, Sweeney worked as a pest control professional for Eradico Services in Ferndale.

He is survived by his wife, Peggy, a member of the city's beautification commission; daughter, Bre Sweeney; son, Brad Sweeney; stepson, Jason Provencher; and stepdaughter, Shannon Provencher.

Funeral arrangements are pending.

uwatson@detroitnews.com

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