Remembering an inspiration
Joe Sullivan: 'Human greatness'
Joe Sullivan's sons - Sean (wearing his father's hat) and Gary - hug after speaking at their father's funeral at St. Catherine of Siena Parish in Manchester on Thursday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)
He was an inspirational man who loved teaching, his family, coaching, sports, particularly the Red Sox , and a bit of gambling, Gary Sullivan said, although his father always said don't bet more than you can afford to lose.
He listed a few "Joe Sullivanisms," things his father always said, among them: "Be a good human being." "Keep it short." "Talk is cheap."
Sean M. Sullivan said his father was a great writer and inspirational speaker. The last time he heard his father give a formal speech was last year at the funeral of Jennifer L.S. Boldwin, Joe's daughter and Sean and Gary's sister.
He doesn't know what his father's favorite day was but he said the favorite day of his mother -- Denise G. (Desrochers) Sullivan, who died in 2002 -- was Christmas. His mother's second-favorite day, Sean recalled his father saying, was each of the 364 shopping days leading up to Christmas. Sean Sullivan speculated his father's favorite day could have been St. Patrick's Day; or opening day for the Red Sox; Feb. 1, because it meant winter's back was broken; the last day of school, or game day.
Joe Sullivan won a Christa McAuliffe Sabbatical, during which he taught a class at every high school in the state and published a book called "The Grand Poobah of Creative Writing." He also wrote "Column as I See 'em" -- usually but not always on sports -- for the New Hampshire Union Leader for many years.
As the crowd left the church, it was to the music of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline," the iconic song played in the middle of the eighth inning during Red Sox games at Fenway Park, which Sean Sullivan said was one of his father's favorite things.
Consummate family man.
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