May 2, 2022
Robert W. Sullivan, 79, of Fort Mill, SC, passed away peacefully at home early in the morning of May 2, 2022, from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. Bob (or Robert as he was always called by his Colorado family) was born March 3, 1943, in Denver, CO, to the late Robert B. and Viola F. (Hicks) Sullivan. Bob grew up in the small town of Rangely, an oil town in northwestern Colorado, with his older sister, Marilyn, and younger brother, Russ. Bob graduated, as valedictorian, from Rangely High School in 1961. From Rangely, Bob went to Boulder to attend the University of Colorado. As an early example of his lifelong passion for learning, Bob graduated from CU in 1965 with a triple major in chemistry, economics, and mathematics. Shortly after graduating in 1965, Bob enlisted in the United States Air Force and served his country honorably during the Vietnam War, flying out of Taiwan as a navigator on the C-130 Hercules. Just prior to conclusion of his service in the USAF, Bob was stationed in Nashville, TN. It was in Nashville, in the fall of 1969, that Bob was introduced to a beautiful young nurse named Joyce Cutrell, who, luckily for Bob, said ‘yes’ and, after their wedding on Valentine’s Day, 1970, became his loving and devoted wife for the next 52 years. After five years of honorable service and a final stint at a base in Little Rock, AR where he and Joyce lived briefly, Bob left the USAF in 1970, having attained the rank of Captain. Bob had been planning to attend law school, but, having missed the deadline to enroll in the fall of 1970, Bob and Joyce then moved back to Colorado, this time to Greeley. Bob couldn’t stand the thought of letting a year go by without studying anything, so he enrolled at the University of Northern Colorado, from which he graduated in 1971 with a Master’s in Education Administration. Shortly after obtaining his Master’s, Bob was admitted to Vanderbilt University School of Law. It didn’t take much convincing for Joyce to move back to her native Tennessee, so the young couple moved back to Nashville, where they lived until Bob received his J.D. from Vanderbilt in 1974. A Vanderbilt friend suggested to Bob that the Charlotte, NC, area might be a good place to live and work, so when Springs Industries, based in Fort Mill, SC, offered him a job in its legal department, Bob accepted, and he and Joyce moved their young family to Fort Mill in the fall of 1974. Bob worked his entire career at Springs, retiring in 2007 as Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Corporate Secretary. Bob and Joyce put down deep roots in the Fort Mill community and quickly became involved in many things … from active membership at Unity Presbyterian Church to the Fort Mill Community Playhouse to racquetball and doubles tennis at the Complex to supper clubs with dear friends to charter membership at the Anne Springs Close Greenway and many other activities. Bob believed strongly in service, and throughout his life, he always found ways to give back. Bob faithfully served Unity Presbyterian Church in many ways … he was an Elder, a Sunday School teacher, a Bible study leader, a Youth Group leader, and served on countless committees through the years. Through Unity’s Outreach Committee, he helped Joyce plan mission trips to Honduras, and he accompanied Joyce on over a dozen mission trips there, where they helped build houses. In addition to his many service activities through Unity, Bob volunteered for Family Promise and Habitat for Humanity; he helped organize the Rock Hill Select Soccer Club in the 1980s, bringing travel soccer to the Rock Hill – Fort Mill area; and he served on the boards of the Fort Mill Community Playhouse, Keystone Substance Abuse Services, and the York County Culture and Heritage Commission, among others. Bob was rarely idle, and when he wasn’t working at Springs or in the yard, or preparing for a board or church meeting, or spending time with his children or grandchildren, chances were good you could find him with a book at his kitchen table or on his screen porch, learning a new subject or brushing up on physics or calculus just for fun. He enjoyed spending time outdoors, particularly hiking in the mountains, either around their cabin near Saluda, NC, or in his native Colorado. Despite his busy schedule and dedication to his job and service to the community, Bob was a devoted husband to Joyce, father to Stacey, Jennifer and Alex, and grandfather – ‘Pop’ – to Emily, Micah, Sadie, Georgia, Ella and Ben. He always had time for his family. He never missed a soccer or baseball game, a dance recital, a gymnastics meet, church play, or any other event in which any of his children or grandchildren participated. He may have been studious and hard-working, but at his core, Bob was a kind, sweet, gentle man who adored his family. He leaves a hole in our lives that can never be filled except by the many wonderful memories of him that we have and will always cherish. Bob is survived by Joyce, his wife of 52 years; his daughter, Stacey McKeithan and son-in-law David McKeithan of Fort Mill; his daughter, Jennifer Davis of Fort Mill; his son, Alex and daughter-in-law, Tracy Sullivan of Fort Mill; his grandchildren, Emily McKeithan Parrish (John), Micah and Sadie Davis, and Georgia, Ella and Ben Sullivan; his brother, Russ and sister-in-law, Sheila Sullivan of Montrose, Colorado; and his nephews, Matthew Sullivan of Seattle, Washington, Dan Parrish of Highlands Ranch, Colorado, and Bruce Parrish of Baltimore, Maryland. In addition to his parents, Bob was preceded in death by his sister, Marilyn Parrish. A celebration of Bob’s life will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 7, 2022, at Unity Presbyterian Church in Fort Mill, SC, followed by committal in Unity Cemetery. The family will receive friends in Unity’s Fellowship Hall following the service. In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift to Unity Presbyterian Church’s Outreach Fund (Honduras) or Imagine the Possibilities Fund.
Robert W. Sullivan, 79, of Fort Mill, SC, passed away peacefully at home early in the morning of May 2, 2022, from complications due to Parkinson’s Disease. Bob (or Robert as he was always called by his Colorado family) was born March... View Obituary & Service Information
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