Paul “Tater” Sweeten made his mark on the football field, but went on to influence generations of Houston students as a coach, mentor, and teacher. After battling the effects of cancer for more than 30 years, Paul passed away peacefully June 5, 2013.
He was born May 9, 1935, to Lonnie and Leah Rucker Sweeten in Bauxite. Paul played football, basketball, track, and baseball for Bauxite High School. He was named to the All-State football team in 1953. Paul received an athletic scholarship to the University of Houston, where he lettered in football and baseball and received both bachelor’s and master’s degrees.
During his 34 years with HISD, he coached and taught students at many schools including Cullen, Johnston, Sterling, Waltrip, Furr and Welch. He also worked for Houston Community College before and after retirement. In recent years, he enjoyed traveling with his wife and had a passion for experiencing different cultures, meeting new people, and seeing famous landmarks. His true pride and joy were his five grandchildren whom he always supported and encouraged. Paul taught his children and grandchildren the value of living life to the fullest.
Paul was an active member of St. Paul Presbyterian Church for 42 years, where he served as elder and trustee. He was a 55-year season ticket-holder for the Houston Cougar football as well as a member of the “H” Association at UH. He was a member of the Ostomy Association of the Houston Area and supported the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
He was predeceased by his parents; a sister, Doris Baxley; and two brothers, Lowell and Euell Sweeten.
Paul is survived by Marilyn Cowles Sweeten, his loyal wife of 52 years; his children, Debra Black, David Sweeten and wife Beth, and Linda Sweeten; his grandchildren, Jeremy and Jason Black, Sara and Jonathan Sweeten, and Austin Schmidt; his brother, Nathan Sweeten; his sisters, Christine Huggins, Virgie Caple and husband Eldridge; and numerous nieces and nephews.
A memorial service was held June 11 at St. Paul Presbyterian Church in Houston, Texas. Arrangements were under the direction of Miller Funeral Services.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Bauxite Museum, 6706 Benton Road, Bauxite, AR 72022; or in the name of Paul Sweeten to the University of Houston Cougar Pride Scholarship, 3100 Cullen, Suite 2004, Houston, TX 77204-6002.
Family comments: The family thanks the many doctors, nurses, and staff who helped Paul be a survivor for many years.