Gerard C. “Jerry” Sweat

Gerard (Jerry) Cornelius Sweat Was born on July 17, 1956 in Providence, Rhode Island

 

He was the son of the late Bennie Woods (originally from South Carolina) and Barbara Jean Sweat (originally from Ocean City New Jersey), both longtime residents of Providence, RI.

 

Gerard (Jerry) C. Sweat was called to meet with our ancestors on Wednesday evening the 20th day of December in the year 2017 surrounded by his children, siblings, and loved ones after a brief illness at Rhode Island Hospital. 

 

Gerard C. Sweat, known to all simply as Jerry, was an entrepreneur in many capacities owning multiple businesses since his early 20’s. Through his innate ability to come up with innovative ideas including hygiene product holders, tools, and his favorite, board game inventions to name a few. Jerry was a consummate inventor who could at any time be found creating something out of nothing. Some of the business ventures he owned includes “Jerry’s Night Club”, located at 888 Eddy Street, “Tons Of Fun” located at the intersection of Brigham St. and Westminster St. and “American Hot Wax”. Prior to his store and clubs business ventures and in his capacity as a deejay in Wiggins Village Jerry promoted and hosted parties known as “The Sex Machine DiscoTech”. Jerry was also a landlord and owner of several properties through out the 70’s and 80’s. After owning several rental properties Jerry Purchased 69 Congress Ave. (in the Elwood section of Providence) where he lived with his family. In this home Jerry installed a recessed fish tank that spanned the length of the dining room wall which he was very proud. Jerry’s children, family, friends and anyone who seen this massive tank  still talk about it to this day as it was very innovative for the time and simply an aesthetic work of art and craftsmanship. . Jerry was also proud of his Redwing Street house. This was one of his multi tenement rental properties that he owned with his long term girlfriend, business partner and mother of his three children Dollie Catala, Jerry also owed several properties on Parkis Ave. and other areas through out Providence. Jerry was a strong minded businessman and always looked to turn a good real estate deal into a great one. Jerry purchased the Redwing property when there were talks about moving Huntington Ave. and running it straight through to Elmwood Ave. which would have diverted the new road directly through his property allowing him to reap a tremendous profit for an initial small investment in hopes of setting up trusts for his children. The city never redirected the street so it simply remained one of his rental units but it shows even in his 20’s Jerry was extremely proficient in the art of negotiating business deals specifically in Night Clubs, Real Estate, and Construction. Jerry also had several other properties he rented to people in the community in the capacity as a Landlord and he took pride in doing his own construction, renovations, and maintenance; a trade he learned from his father. Jerry also owned a Pool Hall on Providence’s illustrious East side. Jerry also did home improvement work as a contractor in many homes on the East Side and from time to time would work for his father Bennie Woods at his construction company “Magic City”. In his later year Jerry gave back to the community that was so good to him by involving himself in community service projects including marching in the first Urban Men Against Murder (UMAM) “No More Murder” march for Peace and trUSt. Jerry volunteered on his son’s (Gerard Catala) first campaign for City Council Ward 9 in the Elmwood section of Providence where he first cemented his family’s roots. Jerry was also a bell ringer for the Salvation Army and could also be found doing goods deeds and services for friends, family, and even strangers who needed a hand up. Jerry had both a Hugh and good heart so, it’s not a shock that even after he took sick the doctors said his heart was very strong and the last to go. Prior to taken sick Jerry was the primary foremen for his son’s construction company, Catala Construction.  Jerry worked on every project from start to finish, “I don’t think without the help of my father I would have gotten through many of my early jobs, his experience and insight were invaluable to me and he’s the primary reason for my success as a contractor”~Gerard Catala Jerry was proud of the construction work he was able to for his father, himself, and his son, something he thought not many of his peers had the honor to do through three generations. 

 

Jerry loved to watch sports but he really loved to play basketball. Standing at only 5 feet 8 inches he was a star basketball player for John Hope and Central High School. Through the 80’s Jerry would often play pick-up games with friends and family at the neighbors house on Congress Ave. and local at parks. He loved to play basketball and always bragged about how good he was in high school and every bit of it was confirmed by friends and family that had the opportunity to see him in action on the basketball court. Jerry also never missed a patriots game, he would stop whatever he was doing to make sure he saw or heard every play. If he was at work he would make sure the game was on tv or playing on the radio at the job site or he would tell you to bring him home so he could sit in front of the tv with a bucket of clams, crab and lobsters to enjoy while watching the Patriots win week after week. Jerry loved seafood to say the least. They say the hearing is the last to go so, on December 17th Jerry laid on his hospital bed as Gerard sat with him listening to his last New England Patriots football game against the Pittsburgh Steelers which ended up being a very close back and forth game that almost ended in a Patriots loss. However, in the end, Jerry was able to hear his favorite team win as his son sat by his bedside to enjoy what only our creator knew would be his final game. Though she wasn’t able to stay for that game, eldest daughter Eboni rarely left his bedside while he was in the hospital. Eboni was often the first to arrive and the last to leave as she could be found by his bedside studying for her college exams. 

 

Jerry loved his old school music especially James Brown and music written and sung by his father “ I cross my fingers and Wheel Baby Wheel” which were the two songs on constant repeat while in the hospital. To this day, both songs can still be heard on youtube. If you knew Jerry, you would know he was very proud of his vast plant collection and he would encourage all his friends and family to come to his home so he could show of his vast collection of greenery that aesthetically overwhelmed his home. He would often say, “COME SEE MY PLANTS”. Jerry also loved to collect pictures of his children and grandchildren which he proudly displayed on every wall of his home. Jerry loved all his children and grand children equally but was so happy to know Harlem son of his son took on his first and middle name, “I will never forget the look on my father’s face when I told him my son’s name is Harlem Gerard Cornelius” ~Gerard

 

                                                          POSTERITY AND LEGACY

 

Gerard Cornelius Sweat  GRANDSON OF Jim Woods, SON OF Bennie Woods FATHER OF Gerard Cornelius Sweat Catala and GRANDFATHER OF Harlem Gerard Cornelius Catala… 

 

is survived by his eldest daughter Eboni R. Catala, his youngest child and daughter Beverly J. Catala and the aforementioned namesake and son Gerard Catala. Jerry was also survived by 10 GRANDCHILDREN: Essence Catala, Tiana Catala, LaQuinton Kelly, Justin Denson, 

Brooklyn Catala, Heaven Catala, Harlem Catala, Tyrell Tavares, Carlos Gomes, and Blessing Catala respectively. Jerry had two brothers and one sister that met our ancestors before him, Angelo A. Taylor and James Tyrone Sweat both of Providence and the late Chandra Rodrigues-Capasso.  Jerry was also blessed with a large number of surviving siblings including SISTERS: Deborah Sweat, Bernita Woods, Marie Benford, Jacquline Bailey, Tanya Johnson, Angelique Henderson, Tabetha Woods, and Storm Woods BROTHERS: Micheal Woods, Vincent (Hondo) Woods, Khalif DeBritto, Jon Richardson, Lerenzo (Renzo) Perry, Herlin Perry, and others, though not mentioned, are not forgotten and loved. Jerry is also survived by a host of NIECES AND NEPHEWS: including Angelo Taylor Jr., James (Jimmy) Taylor  Benjamin (Benji) Woods Vanetta Isom, Gary Maddox, Latwana Maddox, Ciara Sweat, Richard Isom, Claudia Isom,  Keona Isom, and others, though not mentioned, are not forgotten and loved.

His funeral service will be held on Saturday, January 13, 2018 at 12:00 PM in the PERRY-McSTAY FUNERAL HOME, 2555 Pawtucket Avenue, East Providence. Calling hours will be one hour prior from 11-12 PM.  Burial will be private.