Darrell grew up with a talent and love of the arts. He went to Syracuse University receiving a BFA on scholarship where he learned to draw and paint the academic way.
Armed with his talents, hard work, and academic background, he hit the streets of New York with his portfolio in hand out of which developed a world-renowned artist and award-winner with more than 3,000 published art works beginning in 1975.
Darrell met Janet Palfey in 1956 at a soda shop where she worked. He developed an attraction to her and kept appearing at the shop more and more frequently and she kept giving him extra whipped cream on his milkshakes.
They were married on Aug. 18, 1967. With the help of Janet’s unwavering support and complete belief in Darrell’s talents, together they built a family and Darrell built his body of work.
They had a son, Darrell R., and moved soon after from Highland Park, N.J. to Skillman, N.J., where Darrell K. became infamous for his “cannonballs” off of the diving board at the local swim club, the screams of “Rocky” (his nickname for his son, Darrell R.) during sports events, coaching track and field at Montgomery High School, and, of course, his artwork.
In 1996 he had a book published on him and his artwork titled, “Beyond Fantasy. The Art of Darrell K. Sweet.”
Darrell always dreamed of the West. As a child he painted scenes of cowboys and Indians tearing across the plains on their horses and carved single-action revolvers out of scraps of wood. As an adult, his studio was plastered with images of the West. Photographs of the Western landscape hung all around him as did reproductions of artwork from the great American western artists and illustrators. A cowboy at heart, he was almost never seen without his cowboy hat. While living in New Jersey he had a photograph of a mountain range in Wyoming taped onto his filing cabinet upon which he wrote in bold, black marker, “Where I want to be.”
Arriving in Cody in 1998, Darrell continued to produce paintings, muzzle-loading rifles, and beadwork along with pursuing countless other artistic endeavors until the time of his death. He loved the Wyoming landscape and would always point out locations for paintings he wanted to do on treks across the state. Many of these locations became the basis for published artwork that grace book covers across the globe. Occasionally, he even found time to fish and hunt.
He is survived by his son, Darrell Roger Sweet of Cody; his beloved granddaughter, Lily Helen Sweet; and his sister, Selina Sweet of Seattle, Wash.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Janet Helen; his parents, Roger Spencer Sweet and Lillian Sheppard; and his brother, Ronald Sweet of Bolinas, Calif.
A funeral service will be held on Monday, Dec. 12 at Ballard Funeral Home in Cody at 10 a.m. All are welcome. An online guestbook is available at www.ballardfh.com.