Robert Allen Sullivan, a most faithful and humble servant of God, was called to eternal life by his Creator on April 22, 2023, surrounded by family and friends. Bob was born on July 6, 1941, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin to Harold Francis Anthony Sullivan and Genevieve Rose (Lenk) Sullivan. He attended St. John’s Elementary School in South Milwaukee and St. Francis Seminary High School, where he was a favorite of the nuns and clergy for his passion, sense of duty, and humility in living his Catholic faith.
Bob earned his undergraduate degree at Marquette University and he completed a master’s in social work at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Along the way, he met the love of his life, Janice Marie Rose Chlebowski, and diverted from his path to the priesthood. He became her husband on August 29, 1964. It was the start of a beautiful and fruitful 57 years together in which they raised seven children and dedicated their hands in God’s service to family, church, and community.
Bob pursued a career in social work and special education, working initially for Catholic Social Services in Milwaukee. He and Jan moved their family to Waupun, Wisconsin, in 1970, and for the next 37 years, Bob worked with CESA, helping to meet the educational needs of children in 17 school districts. He grew to know many of his special education students well, becoming a friend and supporter through his involvement in Arc of Dodge County.
Bob was a member of St. Joseph Catholic Church for 53 years and kept the church at the center of his life. He dedicated many hours as a lector and server, gave time to the Parish Council, helped with funerals and a variety of church events, delivered communion to those who were homebound, and was deeply involved in the Waupun Knights of Columbus Council 4897. In 2013, Bob was awarded the Service in Society award by the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, which honors men and women who exemplify the Catholic Church’s vision of service, advocacy, empowerment, and justice.
Bob’s servitude extended well beyond the church. He was constantly responding to the needs of families and individuals in the local community through his work with the St. Vincent DePaul Society. He delivered “Meals on Wheels,” made free lunches during the summers with the food pantry, and faithfully participated in the CROP walk and Tootsie Roll fundraisers. He regularly led Bible studies at the prison, ministering to the people there, and he never turned down a request for assistance with a ride to an appointment, help with getting groceries, or in meeting the needs of anyone whom he saw that he could help.
Despite being constantly active in the community, Bob was a dedicated and loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He cherished his 57 years of marriage with Jan, sharing travels “up north,” a love of watching Wisconsin sports, and participating in any number of volunteer activities together. He was devoted to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, taking pride in their achievements and attending every birthday, graduation, concert or sporting event that he could. He was a mentor and constant example to them of how to live as a disciple of Christ. His love and guidance was steadfast and will be deeply missed.
Bob is survived by his children, Christopher Sullivan, Carolyn (Kurt) Heinrich, Matthew (Beth) Sullivan, Brian (Cindy Richgels) Sullivan, Theodore (Jessica) Sullivan, Kathryn (Jeffrey) Dillie and James (Tiffany) Sullivan; his fourteen grandchildren, Victoria, Nathan and Lauren Heinrich, Gabrielle Sullivan, Evan, Eliana and Adeline Sullivan Richgels, Brennan and Ashton Sullivan, and Jacob, Genevieve, Benjamin, Lucy and Caleb Dillie; step granddaughters, Jessica Arthur and Rebecca Young; three great grandchildren, Natalia and Benito Alvarado (of Victoria and Jose) and Walter Heinrich (of Nathan and Xiaoyu); his brother John (Nancy) Sullivan, brothers-in-law Michael (Joyce) Chlebowski and Robert (Linda) Chlebowski and sister-in-law Karen (Rick) Blank; along with many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife Janice and his parents Harold and Genevieve Sullivan.
Visitation will be on Friday, April 28, 2023, from 3 pm to 7 pm at Werner-Harmsen Funeral Home in Waupun, WI. There will also be visitation from 9 am to 11 am on Saturday, April 29, 2023, at St. Joseph Church, Waupun, WI, followed immediately by the Mass of Christian Burial and then burial in Calvary Cemetery in Waupun, WI. Donations in memory of Bob will be directed to the St. Vincent de Paul emergency assistance fund and St. Joseph Church, Waupun, WI.