Rosemary Sweeney Hayden

June 5, 1930 - December 2, 2020
Rosemary Sweeney Hayden


Rosemary Sweeney Hayden died on Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at home, in Wilmington, NC.

She was born June 5, 1930 in Wilmington, NC to the late John Henry and Ellen Gertrude Price Sweeney. Rosemary grew up in Wilmington NC, where she graduated from New Hanover High school. She completed her bachelor’s degree in English in 1952 at University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She was a teacher by profession for many years and took great joy in helping young children begin their educational journey. She began her teaching career at New Hanover High School and returned to teaching later. She completed her teaching career at Blount Elementary until her retirement. Rosemary was a long time member of First Presbyterian Church where she was a Deacon for several years. She loved the music programs presented by the church and was a frequent attendee.
Rosemary will be greatly missed by her family and friends for her love and commitment to others. Rosemary was an avid reader with a wide knowledge of literature, art, and music which she passed to her children. Any cat or dog in need who wandered into her sphere basically won the lottery. For many years she was a resident of Masonboro Sound where one of her greatest joys was to get in her Sunfish and sail away for hours.

She was especially proud of her sons, daughters, grandchildren, extended family, and loved her many friends. They are thankful to have been touched by her love, caring, and friendship. Hers was a life well lived. At a time like this we realize how much our family and friends mean to us.

She is survived by her children, Whitford N. Hayden and wife Joyce, Peter C. Hayden and wife Mary Duke, Caroline H. Hunnicutt and husband Jeff, Elizabeth E. Hayden and husband Reid Bodford. She is also survived by her grandchildren, Eric M. Hunnicutt and Alec G. Hunnicutt. She was preceded in death by her brother John Henry Sweeney, III.

A memorial service will be held at Oakdale Cemetery 10:00 AM Saturday, August 14, 2021 with a service to follow 11:00 AM at the First Presbyterian Church Chapel 125 S. 3rd Street. The family will have a time of fellowship following the service.

The family asks that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the WHQR,254 N. Front St. Suite 300, Wilmington, 28401-8600; First on Third Music at First Presbyterian Church, 125 S. 3rd St., Wilmington, 28401; and Paws Place, dog rescue P.O. Box 67, Winnabow, NC 28479.

Please share memories and condolences with the family by clicking on the “Condolence tab” below.

Wilmington Funeral & Cremation 1535 S. 41st Street, Wilmington, NC 28403 910-791-9099


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  • December 05, 2020
    David Sneeden says:
    The upmost thing that comes to my mind about Rosemary is her open mind and unjugdemental attitude. She was wonderful mother, grand mother and person. She always welcomed her children's friends to family gatherings and treated them like family. She will be greatly missed.

  • December 05, 2020
    Mary duke Barnwell lit a candle:
    Lit since December 5, 2020 at 12:18:35 PM

  • December 08, 2020
    Mark Weber says:
    Our deepest sympathy Whit. You, Joyce and your family will be in our prayers. She sounds like an amazing person.

  • August 11, 2021
    Michael N Pridgen says:
    Rosemary will forever have a place in my heart . She was a kind and caring person who never had a cross word for anyone. She was for many years my other mother and treated me like one of her own. We will all miss her terribly.