Nature 14

John Francis Sullivan

October 17, 1935 ~ June 28, 2020 (age 84)


John Francis (Jack) Sullivan passed away at the age of 84 on Sunday, June 28, 2020. The cause of death was complications due to Dementia and the COVID-19 virus.

Jack was born October 17, 1935 in Olney, Maryland to John Francis and Sabra Harry Sullivan, and is preceded in death by his parents and his older brother, Martin Burke Sullivan.

Jack was raised and lived the majority of his life on the family property located on “Featherbed Lane” in Highland, Maryland.  He grew up in his parents’ home.  Jack and Pat built and lived in their home for 48 years and raised their three sons there.

Upon his graduation in 1954 from Howard High School, Jack enlisted in the United States Army and completed a two-year tour of Germany during his time of service to his Country.

A member of the Harry Family, of which the Sullivan Family is one of six “branches” of the Family Tree, Jack enjoyed his time spent at the five annual Family events, and countless spontaneous gatherings. The annual “Cousins Campout” and “Christmas Evening Sing” events typically enjoy the participation of upwards of one hundred family members.

The Sullivans hosted annual events for family and friends including Easter Sunday celebrations featuring major egg hunts, Fall pumpkin carving and the “Big Breakfast” which included a day trip to Washington, DC.  For many years, the family enjoyed a cabin, nicknamed “Wade Inn”, on the Cacapon River in West Virginia. There was no TV or radio, but plenty of places to enjoy nature and each other and explore on foot, by canoe or with “Old Jeep”.

A founding member of a local camping club known as The Society of the Black Moshannon (The SOBM), Jack was given the name “Brother Bear”. This group of men participated in semi-annual camping and canoeing trips primarily in West Virginia and Pennsylvania wilderness areas.

Jack’s love of camping and the outdoors led to his multi-decade participation in Boy Scout Troop 797, Fulton, Maryland, culminating in his role as Scout Master of the Troop. Under the leadership of Jack and the Troop Committee, the Troop produced a multitude of Eagle Scout recipients and countless fine young men. Typically, there were nine camping trips each year to various locations throughout the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Throughout his adult life Jack enjoyed the feeling of freedom and adventure afforded by his relationship with BMW motorcycles. A recipient of the coveted BMW One Hundred Thousand Mile Award, Jack completed two cross-country “loops”, and toured forty-eight states.

Professionally, Jack began his working life in the field of surveying and civil engineering, transitioning to construction management until he and his family decided to start the custom furniture business that Jack and Pat named “Highland Pine”. From 1976-1990, the husband and wife duo designed, crafted, and finished custom furniture for clients throughout the Washington/Baltimore area. Before retiring in 2000, Jack worked at Glenelg Country School as Facilities Director.

Retirement provided Jack more time to work on a favorite project, “The Piney Woods”. As a member of the Maryland Forestry Program from 1974 to 2014, he maintained an area of 11 acres of wooded land, on which the family planted pine trees and tulip poplar trees. He worked on this project with his tractor, until it became a park like setting. Additionally, Jack could be found in his wood shop, working on any number of creative projects, which frequently involved his favorite tool-the wood lathe.

Love of family, humbleness of life, and zest for adventure capably sum up the life of John Francis Sullivan.

Jack is survived by his wife of 56 years, Patricia “Pat” (Ryan) Sullivan, three sons and three daughters-in-law:  Alison and John Sullivan, Amy and Michael Sullivan, Holly and Morgan Sullivan and nine grandchildren; Rachael, Andrew, Benjamin, Jackson, Caroline, Brendan, Willard, Claire and Morgan Elizabeth.  Additionally, he is survived by his sister Sally (Sullivan) Kone, and numerous nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers, please make charitable contributions to the charity of your choice to honor Jack’s memory. The family will conduct a memorial service when it is safe to gather; date to be determined.

The family would like to recognize the administration and staff of Lighthouse Senior Living at Ellicott City for their excellent and caring attention given to Jack during his final years.

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