Tuned in as she turns 100: Frances Sweet


BECKET - Frances Sweet celebrated her 100th birthday to the same swingin' musical tunes she danced to in her youth.

The oldest resident in Becket is daddy's girl to famed local fiddler and square dance caller George " Pop" Sweet and she'd march through a foot of snow to attend a square dance.

On Saturday, her great nephew, Bobby Sweet, was playing a lively tune at Becket Federated Church for her birthday party, and no one should have been surprised she'd come out to enjoy a good beat.

" She loved her men musician from her father, brother, and great nephew," said Doreen Sweet, who is her niece by marriage.

Frances Sweet was born in East Chatham, N.Y., on Aug. 2, 1913 and moved to Becket in 1927. She worked as a basket weaver in Becket and still has tales she shares with friends that inspire laughs. Friends describe Sweet as a bedrock of generosity with a playful spirit and one who is quick with a comical quip.

During the afternoon birthday celebration, friends presented Sweet a birthday card sent from the White House. Friends also bought her plenty of scratch tickets, a favorite pastime. They even decorated her cake with the tickets.

Bob Sweet recalled his aunt taking him into her home after his own mother passed away. Frances, who does not have surviving children, raised Bob as her own. Her friendship and kindness wasn't limited to family.

"She's always right there," Bob said.

Frances has trouble hearing and uses a wheelchair, but in years past, Bob said he danced the polka and Charleston with her.

Friend and Washington resident Jody Lampro said Frances would be around listening to music until 1 a.m. in the morning.

"It was common to see her at rock n' roll nightclubs 20 to 25 years ago," Lampro said.

Frances said serving others has always been important in her life.

"You have to or you might as well be dead," she said.

To reach John Sakata: jsakata@berkshireeagle.com. or (413)-496-6240. On Twitter: @JSakata


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