In Memory

George Sullivan

George Sullivan

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07/02/15 03:31 PM #1    

Vincent Summers

Due to the closeness in the alphabet of our names, Sullivan and Summers, I quite frequently was seated just behind George. He was the ultimate in male popularity, and perhaps deservedly so. Although popular, he was not a stuffed shirt, but was always polite to me. I respected him. He always dressed well. I seem to recall him in somewhat earlier years dressed in those ever-so-popular suede shoes. George was a great student, and I recall he had acting talent..

07/19/15 06:13 PM #2    

Vicki Meece (Knowles)

After graduating from Princeton, George attended Villanova Law School and practiced law for a time in South Jersey, but his love for the theatre prevailed. He was the director of audience development for the Department of Theatre and Drama at Indiana U. He had earned a master's degree in theatre there, as well as a doctorate in the IU School of Journalism. Except for a brief stint at a college in Louisville, KY, George spent most of his career teaching at IU and was voted a distinguished teaching award by his students. 

He will always be remembered for his outstanding portrayal of Professor Harold Hill in our Senior Class production of Music Man.

07/21/15 10:17 AM #3    

Josh Gitomer

He was our standard-bearer, our pride, our most-likely-to. He was the lead in the plays, the student body president, the multiple community and academic award winner. He was full-bodied, handsome, and engaging. He was charming, funny, articulate, a born leader, a straight-A achiever, and Princeton bound. It seems so incongruous to be speaking of him in the past tense, but nevertheless I would like to share a few words in tribute to my great friend, George Andrew Sullivan.  


My family arrived in Haddonfield in the late summer of 1956. Mom had discovered an elegant, 2-story Tudor on the corner of Redman and Peyton, right across the street from Elizabeth Haddon School. Within a few days, I found myself in Mrs. MacMaster’s 3rd grade class in a room full of strangers. 


Seated to my right was this energetic, confident, sandy-blonde boy who was always smiling and making everyone laugh. On the other side was a tall kid with dark hair who was much quieter but friendly and courteous nonetheless. Perched neatly between the two of them, I quickly felt secure in my new world. And within a short time, George, Frank Knight, and I had meshed into a little pod who did nearly everything together – selling snow-cones at Lizzy Haddon semi-pro softball games, sharing birthday parties and camping trips, playing for the same Little League teams, trick-or-treating on Halloween (and Mischief Night, of course), putting real lead tinsel on the Sullivan tree each Christmas eve (I brought the same box of candy every year), and so much more. 


We learned about life together – about sportsmanship and trust and sex and spirituality and the value of a dollar. George was the oldest in the class, more than a year my senior, and led the way in nearly all things – the first to reach puberty, the first to shave, to drive, to have a girlfriend. Yet he never left me behind. 


I call Sully my great friend for many reasons, but most of all because he was my adopted big brother and champion. I was one of those kids whose mother thought it was good to get an early start in life, and she put me in kindergarten at age four. Big mistake. Every year, I was always the youngest and smallest kid in the class. Plus I was skinny, shy, a get-by student, and a late bloomer. 


But to George, none of this mattered. He was always there for me when I needed him most. He took on my demons and kept them at bay. Why he so generously took me under his august protection, I’ll never quite understand, but I am, and will be, grateful to him all my life. It was a huge and courageous gesture by the person I admired most. What could be better?


After high school, Geo headed north to the ivy-covered walls, and I went south to college in DC and then west chasing a girlfriend to California. He and I lost contact for the most part, but would occasionally write and make excited plans about getting together. Yet every time we got close, he would demur claiming illness or unexpected events. I knew he was embarrassed about his life and the great burden of expectation that he always carried. But I told him again and again that I loved him and none of it mattered to me. I only wanted to see him, whatever the circumstances. He very much wanted to see me too, but only if he could stand proudly before me, in physical and mental wellness, and once again bask in the warm, shared light of our long childhood friendship. 


George is gone many years now, but I feel no separation. Our years together remain bright in my reverie, unwithered and unstained. “Many a friendship, long, loyal, and self-sacrificing, rests on no thicker a foundation than a kind word.“ Though poet and theologian Frederick Faber wrote this nearly 200 years ago, I feel he must have known my great friend, George.

07/22/15 11:49 AM #4    

Chuck Robson

Josh, hold on to those great memories of George in the "first half". Several of us (Boenecke; Borrell; Ergood; Felten; Wallace and a few others) put up with his antics in the "second half". Trust me, as much as we all loved the original George it was hard to deal with the George who could no longer hold off those demons.

07/23/15 10:12 AM #5    

Bob Greenberg

Chuck, Josh and all: when George was practicing law here, we had lunch pretty often. Once, he ate only meat and meat. Another, only organic veggie something or other. The next, whatever. He was never less than completely enthusiastic about whatever diet he had claimed as the real deal that week or month, so much so that it made it almost impossible to ask him WTF he was doing. When he left to go back to Indiana and teach English (or so he said), he was as charged up and excited as I had ever seen him. It would have been nice to have known then what we all know now.  I am not sure what I would have said or done differently. But I think something. Hope to see all the persons you mentioned, Chuck, at the reunion. Best to all.

08/11/15 08:21 PM #6    

Josh Gitomer

This photo was graciously supplied by Ella Miller, George's younger sister. It was taken in his beloved Ireland, the Emerald Isle where George traveled several times as an adult, searched and found relatives, and was granted citizenship. 

08/17/15 11:35 AM #7    

Matt Sullivan

That picture of George, in Ireland sure takes me back.  I went to school in Ireland in county Kildare, right outside Dublin, at Newbridge college, before coming to Haddonfield.

08/17/15 12:32 PM #8    

Vincent Summers

Do you mean to tell me that is a photo of George Andrew Sullivan, the guy we went to school with?

08/25/15 12:11 PM #9    

Kathleen Howell (Starnes)

And a rainbow!  Looks like a still from The Quiet Man.

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