Robert “Bobby” James Sullivan Jr., 75, of Harrisonburg, passed away Monday, Feb. 4, 2013, at his home.
Bob was born in Harrisonburg on Nov. 18, 1937, and was the eldest son of the late Robert J. Sullivan Sr. and Goldie Liskey Sullivan.
Bob was a graduate of Harrisonburg High School and received his bachelor’s degree from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Md. He received a Master of Public Administration from the University of Pittsburgh and served in the U.S. Coast Guard.
Bob was the city planner for the city of Harrisonburg from 1965 until 1991 during the time of the city’s growth through annexation. After retiring from the city, Bob was secretary-treasurer of Woodbine Cemetery. He taught as an adjunct professor of political science for James Madison University from 1970 until 2006.
Known as the “unofficial” historian for the city, Bob spoke to numerous civic groups about Harrisonburg history. He inaugurated walking tours of Harrisonburg, first with his JMU classes, and then with the community at large.
Bob was an active, lifelong member of Blessed Sacrament parish and a member of the Knights of Columbus. He served on the Rockingham Public Library Board and the Salvation Army advisory board for over 30 years. He was a huge fan of anything to do with the HHS Blue Streaks, especially the athletic teams. Bob was inducted into the HHS Hall of Fame Inaugural Class of 2008 in recognition of his reputation as HHS’s Greatest Fan. He had written a history of HHS football, which he faithfully kept updated each year. He was in the process of putting together a book of his remembrances of Harrisonburg with the help of his daughter-in-law, Martha.
On June 27, 1964, he married Kathleen Marie Donovan. Other surviving family include daughters, Ellen Blair and husband, Tom, of Arlington, Mary Sullivan and husband, John Hancock, of Waynesboro, and Laura Henley and husband, Eric, of Charlottesville; sons, Paul Sullivan and wife, Martha, of Floyd, and Brian Sullivan and wife, Vicky, of Bridgewater; a sister, JoAnn Liskey of Harrisonburg; a brother, Lawrence “Larry” Sullivan and wife, Cookie, of Winchester; grandchildren, William Sullivan-Cooper of Los Angeles, Calif., Kate Hancock of Richmond, John Blair, Alexandra, Patrick, Benjamin and Connor Sullivan, Dorothy Sullivan, Ella Henley; and numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Catherine Elizabeth Blair.
The family will receive friends at Lindsey Funeral Home in Harrisonburg on Friday, Feb. 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. A Funeral Mass will take place at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church on Saturday, Feb. 9, at 11 a.m. with Father Joe Goldsmith officiating. Burial will be in Woodbine Cemetery.
Memorial contributions can be made to Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church, 154 N. Main St., Harrisonburg, VA 22802, or to the Catherine Elizabeth Blair Memorial Foundation, 1201 15th St. NW, Washington, DC 20005.
Online condolences may be sent to the family by visiting www.lindseyharrisonburg.com .