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Mary E. Sullivan-Rickey

  • "Achim and I send our condolences to the family. We hold you..."
  • "Dear Phillip, Owen, Nora, Our deepest sympathies on your..."
  • "My condolences to the family. This is never an easy time,..."
  • "My thoughts and prayers are with her family. I knew Mary..."
    - Gail Gadsky/Thompson
  • "Mary and I were close friends in our teens. She was an..."
    - Cheryl Maleski-Breit

Sullivan-Rickey, Mary E.

Mary E. Sullivan-Rickey Age 58, was delivered gently across the threshold by many actual and virtual hands, on March 28th, after a courageous but brutally short journey with Leiomyosarcoma, a uterine cancer that metastasized to her lungs. She was surrounded by her husband and life-partner of 32 years, Philip Rickey; son, Owen, 23; daughter, Nora, 19; beloved dog, Lulu; and many friends.

She is survived by brother, John Patrick (Mary) in Stevens Point. WI, many nieces and nephews, aunts Margaret Schnabel in Wisconsin Rapids and Catherine (Kate) Kasper in Fairmont, MN, and many cousins. She was preceded in death by her parents and sister Kathleen O'Hara.

Mary was born in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, on May 13, 1955 to John and Eleanor Sullivan. She graduated from Assumption High School, then went on to receive her Bachelors of Fine Arts in painting from the University of Minnesota in 1978, her Masters of Fine Arts from Cornell University in 1982. There she met Philip and they began their journey together.

She had many overlapping careers as a remarkable artist and insightful teacher. She taught design, painting, drawing, color theory, and fashion illustration at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, the University of St. Catherine, and finally at the University of Minnesota in the Department of Design, Housing and Apparel. She was a consummate clothing designer and tailor who blossomed in her ultimate creative calling designing costumes for VISTA Theater Productions.

She created an amazing home in the Victorian house she shared with her family; loved to cook and experiment with all kinds of food; and adored spending quiet time perfecting her garden. She loved travel to see new places and meet people. After the family's 2010 trip to Ireland, she did genealogical research that culminated with contacting a long lost cousin and mending a 75-year rift in the Sullivan family. She loved visits to the family cabin in the clear, north-woods air.

Her most important and lasting accomplishment, which brought her great solace, pride, and comfort, was the rearing of her two children and seeing them take flight into their lives. There are no words to express the void that her death leaves with her family and friends, but we know that her parting was beautiful, graceful, and gentle. She will be missed every day.

A Celebration of her life will be held at the Convent of the Visitation School, DeSales Auditorium, July 12, 2014. In lieu of flowers, memorials preferred in her honor to the Visitation Sullivan-Rickey Theater Fund, Convent of the Visitation School @ 2455 Visitation Drive, or to the Experimental Vehicle Team, Saint Thomas Academy @ 949 Mendota Heights Road, both in Mendota Heights, MN 55120. An announcement of the Celebration will appear one week before the event in July. A contact can also be made via the Cremation Society of MN,

Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune on Apr. 4, 2014
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