Dr. Joseph Sullivan
1949 - 2021
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Dr. Joseph Sullivan
January 19, 1949 - April 23, 2021
Wichita, Kansas - Dr. Joseph "Joe" B. Sullivan, age 72, died Friday, April 23, 2021. He was born January 19, 1949 in Wichita, KS to Botious and Tess Sullivan.
Joe attended college in Kansas City, where he met his future wife Pat. After graduating from Illinois College of Optometry, they returned to Wichita and Joe began practicing optometry with his father, Dr. Botious Sullivan. Through his 45 years practicing optometry, Joe was dedicated to providing exceptional patient care, and specialized in providing vision therapy to patients of all ages.
Joe was a Fellow in the College of Optometrists in Vision Development and served on the Board of Directors for multiple local, state, and national organizations, including 14 years on the Optometric Extension Program Board of Directors. In 1993, Joe received the Kansas Optometric Association's Distinguished Service Award for his part in the formation of the See to Learn program and again in 1999 for his work on children's vision research. He co-authored several articles about vision development and vision therapy, and was a guest lecturer at several optometry schools and at optometric meetings in the United States, England, Australia, and Europe.
Joe enjoyed a lifelong hobby of model trains, which were enjoyed by visitors to his office which featured two suspended train loops, especially during the holidays when his Christmas themed train exceeded the length of the track! Joe also enjoyed restoring classic British MG cars and was often seen driving around Wichita in one of his green MGs, often with a dog in the passenger seat enjoying the fresh air.
Joe was an active golfer and an avid tennis player, helping lead a tennis group of 15 men of all ages. Joe could often be found at sporting events, whether attending his children's games, mowing athletic fields at his children's school, attending Notre Dame football games with his wife and children, or traveling to notable sporting events throughout the country.
Joe was a passionate dog owner and could usually be found with a dog at his side, either the therapy dogs at his office, in his car while running errands around Wichita, or on his frequent walks around his neighborhood. Joe's dog walks were a pillar of his neighborhood for more than 30 years and formed the start of many new relationships as new neighbors would stop to meet his dogs.
Joe was preceded in death by his wife Patricia (Pat) Sullivan (McKay) and his parents, Botious and Theresa Sullivan of Wichita. He is survived by his three children, Meghan Sullivan of Chicago, Illinois; Sean Sullivan of Overland Park, Kansas; and Kevin Sullivan of Chicago, Illinois; one sister Margaret (Tom) Slankas of Oak Ridge, Tennessee; and his loyal four-legged companion, Peter.
A funeral mass and celebration of his life will be held when it is safer for friends and family to travel and gather in large groups.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to See to Learn Foundation (1266 SW Topeka Blvd., Topeka, KS 66612), an organization Joe helped form which seeks to make sure children's early learning is unaffected by vision problems.
Services in care of Downing & Lahey East Mortuary. Share tributes online at: www.dlwichita.com


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Published in Wichita Eagle on May 2, 2021.
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Memories & Condolences
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10 entries
May 19, 2021
My thoughts and prayers are with the family during this difficult time. I had been one of Dr Sullivan's patients for 25 years. I went through visual therapy for 2 years. I remember his therapy dogs Stan and Ed. Dr Sullivan had a lot of knowledge and made sure his patients were taken care of. You will be greatly missed.
Teri Brown
Friend
May 8, 2021
I offer my condolences to the family and friends of Dr. Sullivan. He was held in high regard in our family. Through the grace of God we found Dr Sullivan. He gave our youngest eye therapy and the love of therapy dogs. My son loved his wit and stories.
May your soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed Rest In Peace, Amen
Cynthia Panek
Friend
May 6, 2021
I was Truly saddened to hear of Dr Sullivan’s Passing. He has been my family’s Optometrist for Twenty-Three years. He was truly gifted in so much knowledge to help heal me from my misaligned eye problem. I was set to see him Tomorrow and my reminder came up on my phone. I just cried knowing I would not be seeing him. I was so very blessed to know him! I loved his love for his dogs! He was so unique in having therapy dogs in the office. I will truly miss him! I’m so very sorry for his family. I know this time is very difficult! I will be praying for you all. Rest In Peace Jo.
Teresa Chvilicek
Friend
May 5, 2021
Rest In Peace Dr Sullivan. Thank you for looking after us for the last 24 years. My family enjoyed every visit with you and your beloved pups x
Noreen Northrop
Friend
May 4, 2021
I worked for Dr. Sullivan during the days of Stan by Me and Ed Sullivan, the two best therapy dogs! Dr. Sullivan's passion for his patients and respectful treatment of his employees had a lasting impact on myself and many others. He will be truly missed. My thoughts and prayers are with his family.
Robin Barthelme
Coworker
May 3, 2021
Meghan, Sean and Kevin - what great memories we have of and with BOTH of your precious folks......we're so very sorry to hear of the loss of your dad.....praying for you all....with love, Lisa & Scott Ritchie
Lisa & Scott Ritchie
Friend
May 3, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person. Dr. Sullivan was a true leader in our community and played a valuable role in leading our Child Start Health Advisory Committee. He will be truly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
Sandra J Clark
Coworker
May 2, 2021
We will miss him. He discovered my daughters visual problems 40+ years ago and with his expert guidance we overcame her handicap. He was a miracle sent to us and we loved him dearly.
Fran Menges
Friend
May 1, 2021
God be with you during this time. He was one of a kind! Whether making our young boys feel at home by being greeted by his dog before their appointments, conversation while in his optometry chair, or eye therapy or mini science lessons when viewing the back of their eyeball! He was always a pleasure to visit! We have lost a gem of a man.
Carol Dwyer
Acquaintance
April 30, 2021
May God bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. Ed and I will miss seeing Joe and Peter out for their walks.
Sandy and Ed Gormanson
Neighbor
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