ROCKY MOUNT - Cliff Sullivan died at home with family on Sunday, April 21, 2013. He was 57. Cliff's family grieves for their loss: his father and mother, Charles D. and Faye Sullivan of Kinston, N.C.; his brother, Gary and sister-in-law Lois Ann and niece, Nikki of La Grange, N.C.; his sister, Brenda Jongleux and brother-in-law Bob, and nephew Daniel and niece Alicia of Apex, N.C.; his wife of 34 years, Merry Ellen Bell Sullivan of Rocky Mount, N.C.; his son, William Duff Sullivan and daughter-in-law Amy, of Kill Devil Hills, N.C.; his daughter, Shannon Sullivan Miles and son-in-law Brent of Rocky Mount, N.C.; and his five grandchildren, Sky Sullivan, Jenna Marie Sullivan, Rebecca McPherson, Katie Miles, and Logan Miles. Cliff's sister Patricia preceded him in death. Cliff was born April 17, 1956, in Garner, N.C. He grew up playing backyard baseball and excelling in sports and at school. In 1974 he graduated from North Lenoir High School in La Grange, where he played football and baseball. He worked at a plant farm and a stereo store, nurturing a lifelong love of gardening and music. Cliff attended North Carolina Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, N.C., where he was an exemplary student-athlete. Never having played soccer, he tried out and played so well the coaches nicknamed him "Hustle" when they gave him The Coaches Award in 1975. He also played baseball for the college. He was named Outstanding Male Athlete in 1976. He graduated with a B. A. in Political Studies and History in 1978. Even if these were Cliff's only connections to the college, he would be noteworthy. But friends said that Cliff went to North Carolina Wesleyan College and never left. He started working at the college as an Admissions Counselor in 1979. By 1980 he was Director of Academic Advising and Registrar. In 1990 he earned a Master of Arts in Education from East Carolina University in Greenville. From 1993 to 1996 he was Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs. From 1996 until his death he was Registrar and Veteran Affairs Coordinator. For many of his Wesleyan family he will always be THE Registrar. Cliff's love for North Carolina Wesleyan College went well beyond performing his job with the highest professionalism and patience. He was a member of the Alumni Board. He was everywhere in campus. He was the most valuable member of a number of committees he served on as Registrar or as a volunteer. "Ask Cliff" was not just a sentence heard around the campus; it was an acknowledgment of his vast and detailed institutional memory and keen intelligence. In 1992 he was awarded The NCWC Distinguished Staff Award. He also served on the Board of Directors of the Twin County Education Foundation and the Board of Directors of the Children's Education Foundation. He served on committees at both Halifax Community College and Nash Community College. Cliff enjoyed antique hunting, auctioneering, gardening, sports, beer brewing, cooking, coaching little league and soccer, and reading. He will always be remembered for his generosity and acts of kindness. He and Ellen readily opened their home with warmth and friendship. Cliff was a lot of fun. The family thanks Cliff's many friends for their help during his illness. His North Carolina Wesleyan College family, especially Rachel Dix, helped raise his spirits and make the family's time easier. The football team did yard work. Many students helped make bracelets to raise funds. They all mourn. The family also thanks the many staff members at UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, the Nash Health Care Systems, and Hospice and Palliative Care. A celebration of Cliff's life will be held Wednesday, April 24 at 2 p.m. in the Minges Auditorium of the Dunn Center at North Carolina Wesleyan College. Instead of flowers, the family asks for donations to a scholarship fund set up in Cliff's name at North Carolina Wesleyan College, Advancement Office, 3400 N. Wesleyan Blvd., Rocky Mount, NC 27804. You may share memories and condolences with the family by visiting wheelerwoodlief.com. Arrangements entrusted to Wheeler Woodlief Funeral Home, 1130 North Winstead Avenue, Rocky Mount, NC 27804. Sign the guest book at Kinston.com. (Paid obituary)
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Published in Free Press from Apr. 24 to Apr. 27, 2013