George Sullivan
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Anchorage Mayor George Murray Sullivan, 87, died Sept. 23, 2009, surrounded by his family after a long battle with lung cancer. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church. Burial will be at the Anchorage Memorial Cemetery. George was born March 31, 1922, to Harvey and Viola Sullivan in Portland, Ore. He was raised in Valdez with sisters Lillian and Marion, and graduated salutatorian from Valdez High School in 1939. His father Harvey was the U.S. district marshal and mother Viola was the first woman mayor in Alaska. George had a wonderful life as a kid in Valdez, playing many sports, engaging in school activities and helping at the family store. In 1937, at the age of 15, George was hired at the Kennecott Mine, although the hiring age at the time was 16. He was strong and eager, so he was put to work on the tram. He navigated 750-pound ore buckets off the tram and into the grizzly crusher for 10 hours a day, seven days a week. He once estimated that he put in about 17 miles a day on the job. In 1938, George drove trucks for the Alaska Road Commission and hauled equipment and supplies to the workers active in the Richardson Highway construction project. He worked with the military troops to get the Alaska Highway completed and transported military equipment to the Tanacross airport for Bob Reeve to fly to the outlying bases. In July 1944, George was drafted into the U.S. Army for two years and was stationed at Adak in the Aleutian Islands. He married the love of his life, Margaret Eagan Sullivan, on Dec. 30, 1947, and moved to Nenana. George was the U.S. deputy marshal and Margaret was the U.S. commissioner. Aptly, George would catch the criminals and Margaret would try them. In 1952, George worked for Al Ghezzi's Alaska Freight Lines, trucking supplies to the DEW Line on the first ice road to the North Slope. He worked for Garrison Fast Freight. In 1955, he was elected to the Fairbanks City Council. George took a job in management with Consolidated Freightways and in 1959 moved the family to Anchorage, where he lived for the next 50 years. In 1964, he was appointed by Gov. Bill Egan to fill a vacant seat in the Alaska State Legislature. He was in Juneau when the 1964 earthquake occurred; Margaret was at home in Anchorage with seven children. George spent many agonizing hours trying to get on a plane home to his family. George finished his term in the Legislature and, in 1965, was elected to the Anchorage City Council. In 1967, he ran a successful race to become Anchorage mayor, a position he would hold for 15 years. Anchorage grew fast during those years, spurred in large part by the oil boom. In 1975, voters approved the unification of Anchorage's city and borough governments and elected George its mayor. The creation of the Municipality of Anchorage was an incredible undertaking. As mayor, George successfully merged the duplicative departments, boards, utilities. etc., into one government. After unification, the state was awash with money from the oil pipeline revenues. George and his administration had a vision of what Anchorage could become and what was needed to enhance the city's quality of life for its residents. He worked hard to develop what was known as Project '80s. George lobbied successfully in Juneau and received hundreds of millions of dollars for construction of the Egan Civic and Convention Center, Loussac Library, the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts and the Sullivan Sports Arena. This moved Anchorage into being a modern and vibrant community, which enhanced economic and community growth in the Southcentral area. George finished as mayor of Anchorage in 1982. He then worked for Western Airlines as senior vice president. In 1986, he was a founding member of the Sullivan Group, a consulting firm. He also worked as the legislative director for Gov. Steve Cowper. He received an honorary doctorate from the University of Alaska in public administration. George was never one to stay still for too long and remained active in community and state boards up until his illness in 2008. Over the years he was active on the Enstar board, AWWU, state PERS board, Anchorage Senior Center Endowment, TOTE Advisory Board, Military Advisory Board, Anchorage Wellness Court Alumni Group, Alaska Heart Association, Boys and Girls Clubs and many more. He was always willing to lend a helping hand to make Anchorage a little better for those less fortunate or in need. He had a strong faith in the Roman Catholic Church and often assisted at Mass and in the church's organizations, the Knights of Columbus and Knights and Ladies of the Holy Sepulcher. He was a member of the Elks Club, the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Pioneers of Alaska. George had an incredible love for the community and worked on many projects to enhance the quality of life for all who called Anchorage home. He was a true public servant and visionary who strived to make Anchorage a better community for future generations while he was mayor and during his retirement. George's family said: "Dad was blessed with a kind and generous heart. He and Mom gave so much to their family and community. Dad had a wonderful way with people. He was a great Alaskan with an Irish charm and humor that would put people at ease when they met him. He and Mom traveled extensively and held lifelong friendships that spanned the globe. He loved people and never forgot a name or face." George is survived by his sons, Timothy, Daniel (Lynnette), Kevin, George Jr., Michael and Casey (Paige); and daughters, Colleen (Ted Leonard) and Shannon (Christopher Adams). He is also survived by grandchildren, Tim (Terrill), Conor (Carey), Catherine and Moira Sullivan and their mother, Susan; grandchildren, Kelly, Patrick (Julie) and Erin Sullivan and their mother, Jean; grandchildren, Jennifer Sullivan; Matthew, Adam, Molly and Bridget Glenn; Jared Leonard; Declan and Shane Adams, and Tierney and Parker Sullivan; and six great-grandchildren with one on the way. His is also survived by sisters-in-law, Pat Franklin and Marge Eagan of Fairbanks; and many nieces and nephews. George was preceded in death by his parents, Harvey and Viola Sullivan; sisters, Marion and Lillian; son, Harvey; and Margaret, his wife of 59 years. In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Anchorage Senior Activity Center, 1300 E. 19th Ave., Anchorage 99501. Arrangements are with Evergreen Memorial Chapel.


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Published in Anchorage Daily News from Sep. 27 to Sep. 28, 2009.
Memories & Condolences
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34 entries
March 21, 2010
I am Luella Dodge George was my uncle his sister Marian was my mother. I also have a sister Carol. We were both so proud to tell everyone how our uncle was the mayor of Anchorage Alaska.I have meant only some the the kids and wished that we had lived closer to all of them. But thanks to facebook I am in touch with them now. Know that Geroge has left so much to his beloved Alaska and is now at peace with Marget and with a son. May God give the family peace also.
March 15, 2010
My heart goes out to the Sullivan family. As a municipal employee I had the opportunity to know Mr. Sullivan in a very special way. I was honored when he agreed to walk me down the isle when I married my husband in 1981. He was my "replacement" Dad that was always willing to help in any way he could and ALWAYS had a smile to share. One thing I admired about him was that he was he was a good listener. I will miss him dearly.
Daphne Hambrook
November 14, 2009
I just recently learned of George's passing. I was privileged to work for George as his Municipal Attorney and shared his joy in bringing "Project 80s" to reality. I learned more from George than anyone I have met before or since. My most sincere sympaties to the Family. Alaska lost a great man.
Ted Berns
November 11, 2009
Dear Sullivan Family:
May your Dad be dancing in heaven with your Mom and all his other friends.

I first met your Dad when he lived with us in Fairbanks during the 2nd World War. I was about 7 or 8 years old at the time he was part of our family. He was a devilishly handsome man with marvelous dimples. There are 4 girls in our family and at one time or another, he promised 2 of us that he would marry us when we got older. Then, to our dismay he married beautiful Margaret and subsequently had all of you children. Our family moved to Seattle in 1946 and we would see your Dad when he escorted prisoners to wherever. My Dad also worked for Alaska Freight Lines.

Over the years I was fortunate to be in touch with your folks and met some of you kids when you were little. Time and life passed and I lost touch, but I thought of him often and his twinkling eyes, great sense of humor and of course those wonderful dimples.

May your good memories of him bring you comfort.

Jo Anne Harrop Tripp
Jo Anne Harrop-Tripp
October 16, 2009
Back in the late 1970's, I was a close friend of Harvey Sullivan. Through Harvey, I met his dad and we also became friends and even did a little investing together. I later moved to Honolulu and every so often George would come to town and he would organize a big group of people to go out for a great meal at some local restaurant.
He was thoughtful of others and really cared about people as few others ever have. A great man.
Lyman Carter
October 11, 2009
Dear Mayor:
I would like to share a story that Steve's mother, Clara McCutcheon told me. Clara came to Anchorage in 1915 and still owned the original homesite on 7th ave. Stanley, her other son, had moved her kicking and screaming to 11th Ave, a better, safer house. Clara told me that during the time your father was mayor she got a notice from the muni that she needed to remove the snow from her 7th Ave. property. What did you do, I asked. She looked at me like I shuld have known the answer: "Why, I called George", she said. The snow was removed. So no matter how vexing being mayor may become this (now old) Mrs. McCutcheon won't ask you to remove her snow. Sincere Sympathy, Gloria McCutcheon
Gloria McCutcheon
October 6, 2009
Tim and Family, my sincere regrets for your loss. It seems he was battling for some time. I am sure it is little comfort, but know that he is no longer suffering. I know it is a hard situation to deal with, and I am always at a loss for words, in these situations. During this time of need, know that you can lean on God, Jehovah, and he will provide the comfort and strength you need.

Remember, that God promises that we will all be together again in the paradise earth to enjoy life as He originally intended, forever.
Frank D'Elia
October 6, 2009
Dear Kids,
It's hard to lose the "last Dad", even though we know he is happy now with your Mom. I will always consider myself to be fortunate to be one of the kids that they took in when I needed them. After Dan's joke about an Irish woman's shoulders, enough said. I love you all. Erin go bragh!
Love, Reenie
Maureen Doogan Beeson
October 5, 2009
I worked for Mayor Sullivan for more than four years (1975-1979); the last two years as his Executive Assistant. I occasionally visited Margaret at home as she folded clothes and shared her worries over Shannon and Casey, her babies. They represent the beauty of character that built Alaska; tough, hard-working, committed to their responsibility to God and family. The tourism lore that draws people to Alaska: hard times, make-do independence; and respect for Life, your neighbor, and God's earth) is personified by George and Margaret Sullivan. How grateful I am to have known them and their Alaska.
October 4, 2009
Colleen & Family:
I am sorry for your loss, my prayers are with you and your family.

Mary Kowaleski & Children
akmarinemom@aol.com
October 4, 2009
Colleen & Family, I'm sorry for your lost, I have been thinking of you. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

Mary Kowaleski & Children.
akmarinemom@aol.com
October 2, 2009
Dear Sullivan Family: If I may borrow from an old Irish saying, George is now enjoying the "Deep peace" of heaven with his dear love Margaret. I will remember his smile and see it even now in the faces of his granchildren. Family is his best, true legacy. Mary Halligan Barber, Vacaville, CA
Mary Barber
October 2, 2009
Dear Sullivan Family,

Our condolences to each one of you. George is an amazing man. So knowledgable, so kind and gentle. I was fortunate to have him as my "boss" at Garrison Fast Freight in Fairbanks. During my interview with him, we discovered we were next door neighbors. My husband, Jim, was stationed at Ladd AFB. Jim would play ball in your backyard with the Sullivan boys. We also had the pleasure to visit George (and Tim) in Palm Desert, Ca. in March. We had a wonderful time reminiscing(sp) after 50 years. We will always have a special place in our hearts for George and Margaret. May God Bless and Keep each one of you in His care and give you Peace and Comfort during this difficult time.

Jim and Pauline Smith, Fullerton, Ca.
September 29, 2009
Our thoughts and prayers go out to all the Sullivans. He lived and strived to make a wonderful life for his family and for the City of Anchorage and for all the lives he touched. He served the Lord on Earth and now the Lord Almighty is waiting for him to get the City of Heaven in order and call upon him to direct. The Mayor always had time to talk to everyone: great or small. He was a wonderful human being and this the City of Anchorage will always recognize him for his contributions to make this a better place. We will always miss you.
Rich Koutchak
& Family
Rich Koutchak
September 28, 2009
It is with heavy hearts that we bid farewell to our long time friend, George, and extend our heartfelt condolences to all in his family. He will be keenly missed by all who knew him, but we know he is with his Margaret again. George was one of a few who always called me Martin, and Margaret was Marian's first best friend as children on Fairbanks Creek.

Martin "Bill" and Marian Schafer
Juneau, AK
September 28, 2009
I wish to express my sympathy to the entire Sullivan Family at this time. You are all in my thoughts and prayers.

Sister Barbara Scanlon, Boston, MA
September 28, 2009
Iknow he was a great guy,just look at the wonderful family he raised. Joey Scanlan F Street
Joey Scanlan
September 28, 2009
Condolences to the Family of George Sullivan: George and my dad (the late Clare "Newt" Helgelien) were very good friends. We want you all to know that we are thinking of you. God Bless you.
The Helgelien Family
Lana Gundersen
September 28, 2009
May the soul of the faithful departed George through the mercy of God rest in peace.

My sympathy to the whole family.

In the Sacred Hearts of Jesus and Mary,

Marie-Paule C. R. Lavigne-Rochon
September 28, 2009
My condolences to the Sullivan
Family. I met George in the early 70's while visiting the police station in Anchorage. I bumped into him many times over the years. He is a man that I have a great deal of respect for. It was the George Sullivan's that built Alaska.

Ed Ward
Edward Ward
September 28, 2009
In 1971 I was visiting my brother who worked for the city, when I heard this story from one of his co workers: Two workers got into a scuffle in the parking lot as Mayor George was going to his car. He approached the two and said "If you guys want to fight, you'll have to fight me first". They took one look at George and each other, backed off as he said Now get back to work. They never fought again. He was one of the last of his breed and will be missed by all. Frank Mielke
Frank Mielke
September 28, 2009
George and Margaret are at home, with our Father. When we see stars shining in the Northern sky, we will know, it is the Sullivans keeping the lights on for all of us. Well done, Sullivan clan, Well done.
Margy Johnson
Margy Johnson
September 28, 2009
To all the Sullivan family--I hope you will keep the picture in your mind of George in his vibrant health with the twinkle in his eye and the glow on his face when he was greeting you! That is the memory I will hold onto--as I do with Margaret and my parents.
I know that the pain of his passing will not be too great right now--especially for those of you who were with him as his health deteriorated--but as time passes and the grief arrives I want you to know that I am available to listen! He left a great legacy in his family and his life's work!. My love and prayers are with you. Bonnie Shurtleff
Bonnie Shurtleff
September 28, 2009
Thank you to George and Margaret for all their services to Anchorage and Alaska. They both gave so much, and the family still keeps on giving. What a sad loss. God bless the Sullivan family.
Mary Belle Belarde
September 28, 2009
My name is Mary Allan and George Sullivan was my "Uncle George". My mother was his sister Lillian Allan. Every time he would come to visit us we knew it was going to be a special time. Dressed in our Sunday best we would take the train into the city (SF) and be treated to a delicious dinner in an elegant hotel. He always made me feel good.
When Uncle George was being honored with a retirement dinner, we were invited. My mom and I saved our pennies because we just had to go. When we arrived at our hotel in Anchorage we were told that our room had been changed. We were going to be staying in one of penthouse suites, all arranged by Uncle George. The highlight of the evening came when all of George’s family members were asked to come up on the stage. We filled the stage from one end to the other, it was a great evening. I have nothing but wonderful memories of George. My mother loved him so much and was so proud of him, even if he was a Republican, they loved to argue politics.
My heart goes out to his family, and I am sorry he has passed. However, his kids should take comfort in the fact that his was " a life well lived".
Mary Allan
September 28, 2009
God bless the Sullivan family during their grief and afterwards. Remember Mr. Sullivan is in heaven with Mrs. Sullivan and watching over you all and will welcome you all home with open arms. I am proud to say i was born in Anchorage during the time when Mr. Sullivan was mayor. Anchorage wouldn't be the city it is today without him and his efforts to make Anchorage a city to come see for visitors from out of state.
Cheryl Thomas
September 27, 2009
Kevin, You and all of your faamily are in my thoughts and prayers. I understand you pain, as I lost my son, Todd in July. Remember the gifts and do not let the loss be stronger than the gratitude. It is all that has helped me.

God Bless you and keep you.
Peggy Warden
September 27, 2009
I worked for George when he was a Sr. VP for Western. It did not take him long to learn the ropes in the Airline business and I had nothing but respect for the job he did, basically the same way the ran the city - nobody messed with Western when George worked for us. He was one of a kind. My deepest sympathys to his family.
Norm Israelson Sterling Alaska
Norm Israelson
September 27, 2009
As the co-ordinator for AMATS during the last years of the Sullivan administration, I had the opportunity to serve in preparing a $500,000,000
highway program for the MOA.

Without out George's clear and even
decidion making this activity would not have been possible. His own work experience made planning and engineering easy.

Regards and sympathy to the family in
the death of a legendary elected official.
Ken Markve
September 27, 2009
The Sullivan Family,
I am so sorry about your fathers grandfathers death i know it must be hard but our lord took him to a better place.On earth George will be remembered throughout the community with the great accomplishments he has made for our growing city may our lord place his loving hands on your hearts body and soul for the hard days the good days and the rough days.Heavan is only a heartbeat away and heaven can be anyday God bless you all
Darren Aspelund
September 27, 2009
Colleen,you and your family are in my thoughts during this difficult time. Please take care of yourselves. Betsy
Betsy Woodin
September 27, 2009
For all the Sullivan family and especially my old friend Tim, my deepest sympathy on the loss of your dad (and grandfather and lord knows how many other relationships in your huge clan). He was a good guy and the world is a better place because he was in it.

Dick Haggart
Seattle, Washington
September 27, 2009
To all the Sullivans: I am praying God will give you peace and comfort.
Carole Elkins
September 27, 2009
May the Sullivan family celebrate the life of George Sullivan. I met the then Mayor of Anchorage through my father. I attended a couple of gatherings that included Mayor Sullivan and engaged him in a conversation about our great city and sports. He was friendly and quite knowledgeable. I supported him then and now support his son and our Mayor Dan.
I coach Varsity boys basketball at West High with Chuck White and this year we will take the state title and for me it will be for George as I know he supported his boys when they attented there.
To the Sullivan family I say be proud of you father and cherish the time you had with Mayor George Sullivan!

Rick Doggett
Rick Doggett
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