Retired Bridge Engineer of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Marine Veteran of W.W. II
Paul James Sullivan, 86, passed away on Thursday January 10th at Brigham & Women’s hospital surrounded by his loving family. He is survived by his wife and companion of 40 years Toby Pearlstein and his son Mark Sullivan and his wife Linda of Easton, MA and daughter Paula Sullivan and her husband Scott Berna of Sailboat Scherzo. He was the loving and proud grandfather of Connor G. and Kelsey W. Sullivan and brother-in-law of Jerry Pearlstein and his wife Cathryn MacInnes. Paul was born in Stoneham, MA the son of the late John J. and Gertrude D. Sullivan and brother of the late John Francis and Ralph Thomas. He was also the cherished uncle of Thomas and Mary Ellen Sullivan, Daniel Sullivan, John and Darlene Sullivan, Eileen and Paul Duggan and Mary and Donald Foster, Alex Pearlstein and Abbie Pearlstein and many grand-nieces and nephews.
Paul was a Professional Engineer and a lifelong and proud public employee and union member. His career at the Massachusetts Highway Department included instituting and leading the first Quality Control Program for Bridge Erection in the Commonwealth, a program that became a model for other states, and he rose to the position of Bridge Engineer before his retirement. His contributions to the safety of the riding public were recognized when he became the first public official ever to receive the American Road & Transportation Builder’s Association prestigious “Life Time Achievement Award” and they did not stop with his retirement as he devoted many voluntary hours to the American Welding Society towards the development of welding standards and procedures for aluminum and steel. He was a tireless advocate for his fellow workers and became President of then Local 780 of A.F.S.C.M.E.
In his personal life Paul was a true renaissance man. As a young man he played the clarinet in the Holy Name Society of West Roxbury Marching Band among others. He was a builder of model trains and a painter of esoteric subjects. At his beloved Maine summer home he was a gentleman farmer of rocks and a connoisseur of fine farm equipment. He believed strongly in the value of life long learning and earned a Bachelor’s degree and multiple Master’s degrees in Political Science, Urban Planning, and Education from UMass/Boston, Boston State College and Rutgers University. He had a generous and giving heart and was a mentor to many.
Paul joined the Marines at 16 serving in the South Pacific during W.W. II. He was a life-long member of the DAV and a strong supporter of our veterans.
A celebration of Paul’s life will be held at the Maguire Chapel at St. Joseph’s Cemetery in West Roxbury, MA on Friday January 18th at 10:00 am with interment to follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the N.E. Center for Homeless Veterans, 17 Court St., Boston, MA. To share remembrances please visit the online guest book at Bostoncremation.org.