James Sullivan
1937 - 2021
Tate Mortuary
110 South Main Street
Tooele, UT
James Sullivan

1937-2021/ In Loving Memory

Tooele, Utah—Col. James V. Sullivan, USAF ret.

1937 - 2021

Our beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, uncle, cousin and friend died of acute myeloid leukemia on March 1, 2021.

Jim was born in Wheeler, MT on June 27, 1937 to James Henry Sullivan and Celia Maxine Prine Sullivan. He grew up as a farm boy in Montana with his sisters and cousins with whom he remained close to throughout his life. The family moved to Riverdale, N. Dakota where his father worked as a crane operator during the building of the Garrison Dam on the Missouri River. Jim graduated from Riverdale High School in 1955 and enlisted in the USAF.

Following basic training, he was stationed at the radar site atop Mt. Tamalpais near Mill Valley, CA. In 1959 he was accepted into the Aviation Cadet Program and graduated in the Class of 60-D. The first airplane he ever flew was a jet. That was the beginning of an incredible Air Force career. Jim spent 4 years in the F-100. In 1963 while stationed with the 48th fighter wing at Lakenheath AFB in England he married Margaret Smith and, together for 13 years, raised their daughters Sharleen and Diane. Jim had even more hours in the F-105D which he flew during his first tour in Vietnam. He was shot down on December 12, 1965 on a mission over North Vietnam but was rescued and flying again 3 days later. Jim flew a second tour in the F-4, and a third Vietnam tour in the SR-71.

On September 1, 1974 Jim set the world air speed record flying the SR-71 from New York to London in 1 hour 54 minutes and 56.4 seconds along with his reconnaissance systems officer Noel Widdifield. Jim retired from the Air Force on January 1, 1985. In 1990 he married Nancy Hamilton, his love, who he met years earlier in Japan and together they raised son Jeff and daughter Katie.

Jim is survived by his wife Nancy, daughters Sharleen (Tim) Smith, Diane Deatherage, Katie (Nate) Scholz, son Jeff Bolland, sister Vonda (Jerry) Downard, grandchildren Haley (Beau) Leal, Carlisle Caponera, Cameron Deatherage, Derek Deatherage, Liam Scholz, and Remy Scholz, great-grandchildren Landrie and Lincoln Leal, cousin Naida Granmo and many nieces and nephews. Preceded in death by parents, sisters Rena Griffin and Karen Anderson, and great-grandson Eligh James.

Viewing was held Friday March 5th at Tate Mortuary in Tooele, UT. A private family service was held Saturday March 6th.

We are grateful for the extraordinary care provided by Dr. Osman and staff at the Huntsman Cancer Clinic and Hospital BMT, Hematology, and ICU Units. In lieu of flowers, we ask that donations be sent to the Huntsman Cancer Research Institute in SLC, UT.

To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by The Salt Lake Tribune from Mar. 4 to Mar. 8, 2021.
Tate Mortuary
110 South Main Street P.O. Box 569, Tooele, UT
Funeral services provided by:
Tate Mortuary
Sponsored by Tate Mortuary.
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4 Entries
I first met Jim in March 1974. We were pilot colleagues in the SR-71 squadron at Beale Air Force, California.
He was a superb officer, an exceptional pilot and an icon in the Blackbird community.
He will be greatly missed by us all.

Nancy, you and your family are closely in our thoughts and prayers.
We want you to know you have our sincere condolences.

Alan and Liz Cirino
Alan Cirino
Served In Military Together
March 28, 2021
Served In Military Together
March 26, 2021
In loving memory of a wonderful person and fun classmate. Our class reunions from Riverdale High School were always so exciting when you were there. On behalf of our class of 1955 we remember and will never forget!
Kay Freyer
March 6, 2021
Such a beautiful tribute to an honorable and inspiring man. We are sending our condolences on this great loss. Your family is in our thoughts.
Mark and Rachel Hallgren
March 4, 2021
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