Sunday, July 4, 2010
Thomas R. Sweeney, 95, who led a project to develop an antimalarial drug at the
Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, died June 14 of congestive heart failure at
Emeritus at Arlington, an Arlington County assisted living facility.
Dr. Sweeney began his career as a research chemist in the 1940s and worked at the
University of Maryland, National Institutes of Health and U.S. Naval Research
Laboratory. He joined Walter Reed in 1959.
When he retired in 1980, he was deputy director of the division of experimental
therapeutics and chief of the medicinal chemistry department.
Dr. Sweeney spent much of his career developing an antimalarial drug for the
Army and gave the resulting drug its name, mefloquine. He participated in many
study groups and was an adviser to the World Health Organization, a delegate to a
NATO panel on radiation and a member of an international radiology congress in
Tokyo in 1969.
He was a consultant to the National Cancer Institute and a speaker for the
American Chemical Society, and he wrote two books and many technical articles in
his field. He received an Army award for meritorious service.
Thomas Richard Sweeney was born in Albany, N.Y., and moved as an infant to
Washington. He graduated from McKinley Tech High School and from the
University of Maryland. He received a doctorate in organic chemistry from
Maryland during World War II.
He was a member of the American Chemical Society, the honorary research
society Sigma Xi, the New York Academy of Sciences and the Cosmos Club.
He enjoyed tennis, golf and playing the piano.
His wife of 48 years, Mary Frances Gillean Sweeney, died in 1989.
Survivors include two children, Thomas R. Sweeney Jr. of Arlington and Laurel
Sweeney of Apollo Beach, Fla.; and a grandson.
-- Matt Schudel