SULLIVAN, Michael D.
Michael D. Sullivan, retired Photojournalist, avid fisherman and a truly unique individual passed away at the Barton Hills Assisted Living Facility on Monday, November 4th, 2013 at 10:30 in the morning.
Mr. Sullivan was born April 1, 1940 in Pittsburgh, Pa. to Florence Ashe and Harry Sullivan. He lived in a country home on Fairfield Road in Pittsburgh where his family raised capons, rabbits and assorted stray animals until he entered into the USAF following high school. He was stationed at Lakenheath AFB in Suffolk, England where he operated the Rod and Gun Club and developed his lifelong passions for photography and fishing. Following discharge from the service he lived in Washington, DC, New York City and finally Austin, Texas.
A photojournalist for over forty years, Michael worked for Time Magazine, Vista Volunteers, Black Star Photography, and numerous national political organizations and politicians. Following a tour with the Carter/Mondale Presidential Campaign in 1980, he settled in Austin, Texas on Little Bee Creek in Westlake Hills. There he established the Texastock Photography Company that would use the talents of many local photographers.
His photo credits have included Time, Newsweek and Saturday Review covers, Washington Post articles, The Washington DC Photo book, and an expose on the Plight of Appalachia for Vista Volunteers of America. Individual coverage included Cassius Clay/Mohammed Ali, John Glenn, Henry Cisneros, Gov. Clayton Williams, Gov. Mark White, Gov. Ann Richards, the campaigns of four US presidents and central Texas politicians too numerous to mention.
Michael Sullivan's later years have been spent fishing, hunting, collecting books and living a life of quiet solitude at his beloved home in the Boca Chica Apartment Complex. His daily attire has usually been an old pair of Levi jeans, a t-shirt decorated with fishing logos, a long sleeve 100%, cotton shirt (preferable teal blue) with a left breast pocket that contained a black pen, a # 2 pencil and a small notepad. The shirt always had holes at the elbows. In the evenings, when not watching the Rachel Maddow show, he could be counted on to spend at least two hours preparing his evening meal of homemade tomato Bolognese sauce, spaghetti cooked exactly for 11 minutes, a lettuce, tomato and sweet yellow onion salad, two pieces of rye bread with real butter and a single malt scotch and water. A devoted fan of anchovies, he always included at least two in his sauces. His friends knew he could never be counted on to eat his evening meal until a little past midnight and true to his late mother's instruction, he always chewed his meat at least 52 chews.
An eccentric to the end, Mr. Sullivan finally acquired a Mac computer and proceeded to reunite with friends from his early childhood years. He established a pen pal relationship with a fishing buddy from "Up North" and spent countless hours researching the late Jack O'Connor. He had first editions of all of O'Connor's works!
Although without any real blood relatives, Michael considered his family to include his "photographer buddies" and present and past residents of Boca Chica. If you were a friend of Michael Sullivan, you were a friend for life.
His parents, Harry and Florence Sullivan, his dear friend Paul Powell and his beloved dog, Lucky Too precede him in death.
He is survived by his close friends Dr. Bruce Kirkland, Jeannie T. Harbour, Jim Harbour, Jo Ann Powell, John and Bonnie Crist, Rudy Braun, Stephanie Beard, Susan Brooks, Peter and Gaye De Coux, Pete Galica, Petre Miller, Dale Ahearn, his pen pal Richard Martens, Sandy Rankin and all of his friends and colleagues (past and present) who knew and loved him.
Heartfelt gratitude is expressed to Austin Hospice; especially nurse extraordinaire Tina Carrillo, Social Worker Jan, Chaplain Deborah, and Volunteer George for their most excellent care and support.
Special thanks go to the entire staff of the Barton Hills Assisted Living Facility in South Austin for their kindness, generosity and the care and comfort they offered to Mr. Sullivan and his friends. Barton Hills was truly a special place ... a Querencia. To the end Michael was able to look out the window, watch the birds at the birdfeeder, pet the sweet resident dogs and enjoy chocolate milkshakes. In particular four people at this facility made his last days a time of peace and comfort ...Gabriella Pedroza, Rhonda Kerr, RN, Heidi Fischer and Belinda Huerta. Thank you all so very much.
Throughout his life Michael Sullivan sought to capture the true essence of a person's inner self in his photos. His talent knew no bounds and he never limited himself to the mundane. He would go anywhere; do anything to capture the perfect photo. He touched many lives, he captured many moments that are long gone, and he shared freely of his life experiences. He was a gentle soul and knew no discrimination. We will never forget him. He was one of a kind.
In accordance with his wishes, Mr. Sullivan will be cremated and his ashes will be combined with those of his cherished companion Lucky Too and spread on the grounds at Boca Chica and near the Dam of the Theodore Roosevelt Lake in Central Arizona. A later service will be announced. May he finally rest peacefully.
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Published by Austin American-Statesman from Nov. 6 to Nov. 8, 2013.