Thomas Francis Sullivan, aged 75, passed away peacefully in his sleep in Westfield, MA on January 1, 2021 with his son at his side. Born in Litchfield, CT on May 8, 1945, he was the son of the late Richard and Katherine (Carey) Sullivan. Tom is survived by his brother and sister-in-law Garry and Maria (Casadei) Sullivan; his sister Kay (Sullivan) Tracy; a brother-in-law Mike Chepiga, his daughter Gretchen Sullivan and son-in-law William Schnell; his son Patrick Sullivan and daughter-in-law Ashley Winn; three step-grandchildren and two step-great-grandchildren; many nieces and nephews; and several cousins. In addition to his parents, he was predeceased by his niece Maureen Sullivan, nephew Jason Tracy, and sister Marlene (Sullivan) Chepiga. Tom, known as “Sully” to his fellow Marines, who all loved him and were his brothers for life, served four years in the US Marine Corps. From 1967 to 1968, he served with FMF/WestPac, III MAF, 1st Marine Air Wing, which was based in Chu Lai, The Republic of Vietnam. Sully and his fellow Marines were at Chu Lai on January 31, 1968, when the Tet Offensive began. The remaining months of Sully’s tour in 1968 were some of the most battle-ridden months of the Vietnam war. Promoted to the rank of Sergeant, Sully was honorably discharged shortly after returning to the US. Tom’s military service informed his lifelong commitment to serving communities and people in need, particularly veterans. He was recognized as Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program Officer of the year during his tenure with the State of CT’s Department of Labor, and later advanced employment and training support for veterans while working for the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC. Throughout his life, Tom was an active supporter of POW-MIA recovery efforts and many other veterans’ causes. Upon retiring from Federal service in 2005, Tom moved to Sanibel, FL. There, he started his own small business, The Irish Guard, which provided home watch and care services to part-time residents of Sanibel, and of which he was enormously proud. Tom’s greatest joy in life was his family. In March of 2020, he moved to the Westfield Center long-term care facility in Westfield, MA to be closer to his children. In the last 10 months of his life, he delighted in weekly visits outside on the patio with Gretchen and Patrick, and weekly video calls with them, his brother Garry, and his sister Kay. The family would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the entire Westfield Center team, which provided exceptional care and compassion to Tom and his loved ones in the last part of his life. The family will host a celebration of Tom’s life in Litchfield, CT at a later date, when it is safe to travel and gather. In the meantime, if you are moved to honor him, please feel free to donate to the Association of Service Dog Providers for Military Veterans in his name (http://servicedogs4vets.org/).
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