1935 – 2021
N. Grosvenordale – On Wednesday, December 15, 2021, Thomas Leo Sullivan passed away at the age of 86.
Tom was born in Southington, Connecticut on November 13, 1935, the youngest of 12 siblings. He leaves behind his only remaining sibling, Sister Dennis Marie, his daughter Beth, his son Andy, daughter in-law Michelle, grandchildren Holly and Edie, and a long list of friends and extended family. He was preceded in death by an equally long list of friends and family that were hard for Tom to lose including his brothers, Joseph, Roger, David, Steven, Jack, and William Sullivan; and his sisters, Helen Fox, Ann Grise, Esther Sullivan, and Patricia Savage. He was also preceded in death by his wife Marsha Lynell Hakala who passed away in 1977 at the young age of 32. This was especially hard on Tom who was left to raise their two young children, who were only 8 and 9, by himself. Exceptionally generous family offered to take in Tom’s kids to make the situation workable, but Tom found a way to raise his children successfully, which is one of his superman feats.
Tom worked hard in his life including unloading rail cars of chicken feed by hand at Chickering Farms and building substations for Connecticut Light and Power. He served in the Army as a radio operator and was proud of his Morse code skills. He went on to put himself through Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University by loading baggage and worked a full career flying the DC-9 for Mohawk, Allegheny, and USAir. Another superman feat was when Tom saved many lives and earned the Daedalian Civilian Air Safety Award when he was able to execute an emergency liftoff narrowly climbing over another passenger jet that was accidently taking off on a crossing runway.
Tom loved the company of friends and family, Maine, walking outside, a good dinner out (his treat), golfing, wood working, and taking care of his home. He had old-fashioned values including working hard, respecting your elders, honesty, and helping your friends and neighbors. He did a lot to help his mother-in-law Marion Youhas long after his wife Marsha passed away. He was good with tools and could fix just about anything around the house thanks to his brothers’ teachings, including plumbing, phone, and electric. He had high but achievable expectations and instilled work ethic and an understanding of what employers want in his two children.
Remember Tom when you are enjoying the company of friends and family at one of his favorite places like Valley Springs, the Mansion, or Yummies.
Relatives and friends are invited to visit with Tom’s family from 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm on Tuesday, December 21, 2021, in the Valade Funeral Home and Crematory, 23 Main St., N. Grosvenordale. A gathering will begin in the funeral home on Wednesday, December 22, 2021, at 9:00 am followed by a Mass of Christian Burial at 10:00 am in St. Stephen Church, 130 Old Turnpike Rd., Quinebaug, CT. Burial will follow in St. Joseph Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, please consider contributing to Tom’s favorite charity, Hole-in-the-Wall Gang, at holeinthewallgang.org or mail your donations in Tom’s memory to: Hole In The Wall Gang, 555 Long Wharf Dr., New Haven, CT 06511. For memorial guestbook please visit www.GilmanAndValade.com.