Francis X. McSweeney Sr., a longtime automobile dealer in Baltimore who later worked for the State Department of Licensing and Regulation and retired in 1991, died Oct. 15 of cancer at his home on The Alameda. He was 72. A Mass of Christian burial was offered Oct. 19 at Immaculate Heart of Mary Roman Catholic Church.
He was general sales manager of a Ford dealership before operating McSweeney Pontiac on West North Avenue between 1955 and 1958, when it was destroyed by fire. Later, for about 10 years, he operated K&M; Auto Sales, a used-car business on Belair Road.
Born in Baltimore and reared in the old 10th Ward, he was a graduate of St. Paul's Parochial School and of Mount St. Joseph High School. He earned a business administration degree from New York University.
In 1954, he was elected as a delegate from the 3rd District to the State Democratic Convention. Five years later, he ran for mayor as an independent Democrat. Although he lost in the primary, he gained a nickname that stayed with him after the campaign, "The Smiling Irishman."
During World War II, he was a civilian investigator in the Security and Intelligence Division of the Army's 3rd Service Command.
He also served briefly in Baltimore's old park police.
He is survived by his wife of 47 years, the former Viola B. Gatton; a son, Francis X. McSweeney Jr. of Towson; and a daughter, M. Melody McSweeney, also of Towson.