Family and friends on Thursday celebrated the life of Bill Sweezer, the Fort Mill father killed in a multi-car crash last weekend in Charlotte. It was a twist of fate that still didn't seem possible to them.
The Rev. Matt James asked the question on everyone's mind at the memorial service: "How could this happen?"
Sweezer, who was 53, was driving with his wife and two sons about 7:20 a.m. Saturday to a swim meet at the Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center. He was happily going about his business.
Ahead of him on John Belk Freeway a car had broken down on the left shoulder. A police car was stopped behind it. Sweezer's Toyota Camry hit the cruiser.
Sweezer stepped out onto the road to talk with the officers, and was struck and killed by a Toyota 4Runner.
"He was always worrying about others right up to the moment he died," James said, reading from memories provided by Sweezer's wife, Bobette, and sons, Brandon, 14, and David, 13. Bobette Sweezer and David also were injured, as well as two police officers and four other motorists.
Teenagers from the boys' swim team, Rock Hill Area YMCA Aquatics, filled one side of the chapel at Greene Funeral Home in Rock Hill. They wiped away tears as James read tributes from family members that described:
"Little Billy Sweezer" who raised sheep as a member of Future Farmers of America and grownup Bill Sweezer who always put his sons first. He was a good cribbage player, his family said, and a smart man who liked to read books about history.
"We will always remember Bill Sweezer," swim coach Lynn Williams said, and described his loping gait as he made his way around the pool, encouraging young swimmers to give their all.
Sweezer was born in Reno, Nev., and lived as a youngster with his family in Germany, Greece and Alaska before they settled in California. He earned his MBA from Pepperdine University in 1996, and was considered the family's expert in computers and technology. He worked for Wachovia in the Finance Business Information Technology department.
James quoted one of Sweezer's brothers as saying: "Life is so short. We need to embrace our family and friends. ... You will never know when somebody's life will be cut short."