Michael Roger Sullivan
April 15, 1939 – August 5, 2022
Michael Roger Sullivan died on August 5, 2022 after a long battle with Scleroderma. He is survived by his loving wife of 57 years Bonna Sullivan; sister Patricia Coleman; children Maureen Sullivan, Michael Sullivan (Corie), Anne Salyer (John), and Bridget Ruud (Erik); and seven grandchildren Katherine and Ryan Sullivan, Johanna, Alexander and Clare Ruud, Caroline and Charles Salyer.
He was preceded in death by his parents James and Johanna Sullivan; sisters Joan Sullivan, Maureen Benon, and Catherine “Mickey” O’Rourke.
Michael Roger Sullivan was born on April 15th, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York, the youngest child of two Irish Catholic immigrants, who worked as a nurse and New York City policeman. His mother and four sisters were a major influence on Michael’s life, as his father died two months before he turned four. He graduated from Power Memorial High School as a seventeen-year-old in 1956, and completed a bachelor’s degree in economics at the University of Notre Dame in 1960. He then proudly served as an Air Defense Artillery Officer in the United States Marine Corps after completing Officer Candidate School, and left active duty at the end of his commitment in 1963.
After the Marine Corps, Mike took a job in sales in Rome, New York, and it was there he met and fell in love with a lovely Mohawk Airlines flight attendant Bonnie (Moore) who later became his wife. He charmed her with his wit and kindness, and made brunch for her after church each Sunday. Shortly after they married in September of 1965, Mike took classes at Canisius College to specialize as an accountant, and went to work for Allied Chemical (later merged with Bayer AG) for over thirty years.
These newlyweds soon had four children: Maureen, Michael, Anne and Bridget. They moved to Sparta, New Jersey for ten great years during which Mike enjoyed completing home projects, that included adding on a screened in porch and tennis court. He helped run the Sparta Little League, was a Cub Scout Pack Master, fixed cars of questionable reliability, loudly cheered on the Fighting Irish, took the family ice skating on frozen ponds, and approached the speed of light on his runner sled, The Silver Streak.
Leisure time meant Summer beach vacations with Bonnie’s family, or trips to the Poconos or Long Island to visit his mother and sisters. He took the family to Yankees games, despite having lost his joy for professional baseball when the Brooklyn Dodgers ripped his heart out and moved to Los Angeles. He required the family dogs be named for two Irish gridiron legends: George Gipp and Frank M. Corridio.
In 1978, Allied/Bayer relocated the family to the Pittsburgh area, and the family ultimately settled in Sewickley, PA. There he refereed youth soccer, played a lot of tennis and paddle tennis, religiously ran 6 miles of tough hills each morning, attended St. James Catholic church, and served on the board of the Edgeworth Club. There was nothing more important in his daily schedule than getting to bed early, except for occasional fun evenings that may have meant a reunion with old friends, a celebratory dinner with family, or a night out dancing with Bonnie.
The good folks at Bayer found that he possessed a hidden talent for entertaining corporate clients, so for a decade, he led annual outings to ski at Vail, to golf at Pinehurst, and to watch professional tennis at the Lipton in Key Biscayne. He retired from Bayer in 2000, and then held down the fort at home while his beloved bride taught health at the University of Akron for five more years.
In retirement, he and Bonnie ultimately moved their winters to Florida in order to avoid the damage of cold weather on Mike’s hands, which had been worsening due to early symptoms of Scleroderma. On one of their first visits, they ran into Mike’s former Bayer colleague that steered them to Ocean Village in Fort Pierce. There they settled for the last 15 years, making good friends with fellow snowbirds, enjoying the warm weather and ocean air and golfing frequently.
His laugh filled a room, and he never laughed alone. He was raised in an Irish widow’s household during a World War at the end of the Great Depression. He lived with the discipline of the Marine Corps tempered by the compassion of the Gospels. He lived his virtues, but almost never advertised them aloud. The family dogs in any of his children’s houses would seek him out endlessly while he dutifully pet them. He had an impressive memory, and Bonnie would say she never won a bet with him. To his children, he was a tower of inexhaustible physical strength, until Scleroderma stole that away. He was a great example of a good man, and a steady force for his community, friends and family. He loved deeply but quietly, and will be forever missed by those who loved him.