Stan Sweet Touched the Lives of Many

Stan Sweet left an impact on the community in more ways than one following his unexpected death.
A teacher in the Coos Bay School District for 20 years and a graduate of North Bend High School, Sweet spent a majority of his life in the two small towns. This is the setting of his positive impacts on students, co-workers and friends.

In early January, Sweet came down with an infection that quickly spread and eventually led to several strokes and a heart attack. He passed away on January 23, a few days after this occurred

Shirley Tremel, a teacher at Sunset Middle School where Sweet worked, said he changed the course of her career for the better.

“I never would have stayed here if it wasn’t for him,” Tremel said. “He changed my path.”

According to Tremel, Sweet held the school together in a special way because of his kindness and leadership skills.

“He was the glue. He kept everybody afloat,” Tremel said. “He did a lot of things behind the scenes to make everybody’s lives easier.”

According to Tremel, the Sunset staff and Sweet family have had a hard time recovering from the loss of someone who always knew the right things to say and who included everyone.

“I’m realizing now how good he was at taking care of people because we’re all falling apart without him,” Tremel said.

Sunset counselor Karen Cyris said Sweet was one of the reasons she was excited to start working at the school again.

“I was excited to come back and work because I knew Stan was going to be here,” Cyris said.

According to Cyris, Sweet had a large impact in the overall atmosphere of daily school life at Sunset.

“Just his presence in the building, it’s like there was a peacefulness about it,” Cyris said. “There’s kind of a light that went out.”

Susie Jackson is a substitute teacher in the district and said she knew Sweet on a personal level.

“He and I were also friends outside of school,” Jackson said.

According to her, there were many things for one to know about Sweet’s personality.

“Very intelligent. Very witty. Loved a good practical joke. Really valued education. Adventurous. Loyal,” Jackson said. “But really, glue. He held everything together.”

Jackson is currently teaching Sweet’s class and said she plans to stay there for the remainder of the year.

“I’m trying to replicate his curriculum. The hardest thing, and I’ve found myself doing it more than once, is reaching for my phone to call him,” Jackson said. “It has been very difficult.”

Sweet not only left an impact on his friends as a teacher, but he was very important in other ways.

Sweet’s life partner, Royce Long, said he was always a positive and extremely happy person.

“He genuinely cared about people, even if he just met them,” Long said.

Long said Sweet enjoyed doing things like watching Star Wars movies, walking his five corgis, gardening, helping kids and travelling.

Long also said the impact Sweet had on people was life-changing.

“Just him being him was phenomenal,” Long said.

According to Tremel, Sweet was the type of person that brought everybody together and made everybody feel like they were important.

“It didn’t matter if you were someone in the cafeteria or a student from 18 years ago or a random person at Subway,” Tremel said. “He connected with everybody in some way or another.”

According to Jackson, Sweet did many things to help his students that did not only include education. If a student did not receive enough food at home, Sweet had an entire cupboard full of snacks for anyone who needed them. He also donated items to students like clothes and books, without asking for any form of recognition.

Junior Brandon Richards had Sweet as a teacher for Social Studies in seventh grade while he was at Sunset and said there were many things he liked about Sweet, especially his happiness.

“Walking into class and just seeing him smile,” Richards said.

According to Richards, he enrolled at Sunset half way through the year, and Sweet helped him make friends and helped him through the rest of his year.

“He stuck with me through a lot. Whenever I was having a hard time, I’d go to him and he’d always help me,” Richards said. “He treated me different than any other teachers did.”

According to Richards, when his father passed away in 2012, Sweet supported him and was willing to help him with anything.

“He influenced me to always try hard and after my dad passed away, he was there,” Richards said. “He taught me to always work hard, and when you work hard you succeed.”

Sunset Principal Dale Inskeep said he knew Sweet for 21 years. In that time, Inskeep said he learned much about Sweet.

“He had a very strong belief system about the bigger picture of life. How life is precious and valuable,” Inskeep said.

Jackson said Sweet’s death was extremely sudden and unexpected. However, she also said everyone who was involved in Sweet’s life learned something from his passing.

“You need to be aware that literally, in the blink of an eye, your whole life can change. Stan knows without a doubt I loved him. There was nothing ever left unsaid,” Jackson said. “Always make sure the people around you know how you feel.”