Paul Sullivan: R.I.P.

(I meant to frontpage this earlier. Work has been busy this week. Go after the jump to read Paul’s son’s Euology. – promoted by EaBo Clipper)

Today’s Lowell Sun (9-10-07) has a nice front page tribute to radio host & columnist Paul Sullivan, who died last night from cancer. He was 50 years old. I’ve known him on & off over the years & appreciated the kind of company he represented. I’ve enjoyed his sense of humor, his sense of fairness & his sense of faith. He will be greatly missed by me & his friends in the Lowell area.

Euology of Paul Sullivan by his son Ryan as appeared in the Lowell Sun

Transcript of the eulogy for Paul Sullivan
The Lowell Sun
Article Launched: 09/13/2007 01:52:20 PM EDT

The following is a transcript of the poignant eulogy delivered Thursday for Sun columnist and radio personality Paul Sullivan by his son, Ryan Sullivan:

My Dad was a hot ticket – he was also a candidate for adult ADD.

Throughout these past few weeks, surrounded by family and friends, my dad’s humor and love for life was never better expressed. Stories of my father’s antics were spread from his days at Austin Prep and Merrimack when he proudly wore the mantle of class-clown, to some of his more outrageous interviews at WLLH and WBZ. During the days after my father’s passing, his colleagues at WBZ and the Lowell Sun – Lowell’s great newspaper located at 491 Dutton Street in beautiful, historic downtown Lowell – shared their stories of him in tributes, obituaries, and poems.

But that was only the image my father wanted the world to see. As my sister Ashley has often stated, “Dad was always busy keeping everyone’s eyes on what he wanted and hiding who he really was for just himself and those who knew him the best.”

Who was that Paul Sullivan? That man was a decent, kind-hearted, warm, and loving human being.

Not many of you know that my father, every Christmas, would pick a family to help out in some way – like buying toys and tickets to the circus for a family just a little down on their luck. Those were the columns he was living, but chose never to write about and take credit.

It was not simply my father’s best friends that showed me what a special impact Paul Sullivan had on this world. It included those like Joan from Manchester, who when she heard this past Thursday that my dad was in hospice care, sent a card just to let him know that she cared. A woman who had never met my father took that time because he made her life a little bit easier by making her feel at home wherever she was as long as she heard his voice. Every son can stand in front of this pulpit and talk about how loved their father was – but my Dad was inspirational.

If cards from strangers were not enough, several of my father’s friends told me that during dinner over these past few nights they recollected “Paul stories” amongst themselves. There can’t be a better compliment than hearing that your father is the topic of conversation in several different homes in the Merrimack Valley because of his wit and his heart.

The hardest part about the last days of my father’s life was his knowledge that he was leaving his parents – who instilled in him the very virtues I am lauding today – to grieve for him as no parent should. But what was hidden from him due to his amazing modesty, is that my grandparents, Kevin and Peg, sit here today and are touched in their hearts as to how special their son Paul was to so many.

It is at sad times like these when the true measure of a man may be found. People often say that a man is judged by the company he keeps, and my father kept a lot of company. Yesterday during my father’s wake, there were tears as well as laughter as many, many people in the area came out to show their support. As my sister Kerri remarked, the people who came to express their condolences were not just fans who were meeting Paul’s family for the first time, but were friends whose phone numbers he kept in his cell phone. However, the Irish heritage my father was so proud of kept us from focusing just on our loss, and instead reminded us of all of the great times we had with an extraordinary man.

For the last 33 months, my father battled cancer, and on Sunday night he finally was able to go to rest. The words, “I love you,” said to my stepmother, his loving wife Mary-Jo, were his last. Those were my last to him, and those of everyone else who came to see him these past few weeks. Although I am sad that my father has now passed on, it was not without leaving love, and an exceptional example for my family. I will leave you with the one thought and idea that my father left this Earth arranging – on behalf of my family and friends, we would like to recognize the nurses and staff at Saints Medical Center and Merrimack Valley Hospice. These two organizations, together with the help from people like Father Sannella, cared for my father during the final “edition” of his life. They allowed him to leave this world with the dignity that he exhibited in life – and for that we thank them.

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