Ned Sullivan passed away Saturday evening November 16, 2019 in Danvers MA, at the age of 89. Born in Marblehead to Katherine (Brady) Sullivan and Albert Victor Sullivan, he grew up in a close-knit Irish community rambling around on the water and in town surrounded by aunts, uncles and cousins. A self-taught avid sailor, he and his father rescued and rehabbed a hurricane-damaged classic Lightning sailboat. His father built the new mast by hand and he loved sailing that boat.
Ned met Peggy Greene through an Army friend, Bob Gillis. They hit it off immediately and enjoyed skiing, hiking and canoeing together. They were members of the Boston Ski club. They married in October of 1958.
They started their family and the Lightning sailboat was sold after daughter #2 arrived. Ned and his father built our family home in Boxford in 1964, where he and Peggy raised us. The house was situated on a hill in the woods and perfect for their love of the outdoors and space. We skied in the winter, hiked the White Mountains in the fall and swam at Baldpate and Stiles Pond in the summer. Ned and Peggy enjoyed square dancing and were members of the Fair Town Squares for many years.
Ned worked in the shoe industry and we always had great sample running shoes. He traveled often for work and followed the industry in its migration from Maine south to the Caribbean and Central America. The family moved to Puerto Rico in the mid seventies so we could be closer to his work. Do not ask us to tell the “Puerto Rico Stories” unless you have the time to listen. In Puerto Rico, Ned and Peggy snorkeled extensively and loved spending time at Cinnamon Bay, St. John US Virgin Islands during the Christmas holiday.
After returning to Boxford, Ned and Peggy continued their active outdoor life, hiking, cross country skiing and camping at Lake Umbabgog in NH. They hiked many of the 4000 footers in the White Mountains multiple times. Ned and Peggy leave their children with a deep appreciation of nature and its beauty in all seasons. We’ll never forget following him up the steep switch backs of Mt. Lafayette with the promise that the summit and Milky Way bars were around the next bend. We learned to review the White Mountain Trail Guide carefully before all proposed circle loop hikes. Ned had a natural curiosity that led him to “just” to see around the corner or over the next rise in the road. A “No Trespassing” sign was an invitation to carry on. Ned was an avid reader with a photographic memory. He inhaled history books about the Civil War and anything involving boats. We called him “Navigator Ned” because he loved leading us over the back roads and trails of New England. Ned had an enduring tenacity, he would soldier on come rain, come shine or snow to the next task or summit.
Ned retired in 2007 from his job in sales at Jack's Custom Woodworking in Woburn. He thoroughly enjoyed traveling New England and calling on his growing customer base. He was known simply as "Ned" in the business. Many of his customers attended his surprise retirement party that Jack's threw.
Before her passing in 2014, Ned and Peggy walked at the Crane Estate/Castle Hill in Ipswich MA daily. Their favorite spot was at the head of the Grand Allee overlooking Ipswich Sound and north to Plum Island. Ned had two teak benches installed at the head of the Grand Allee overlooking their favorite viewpoint. One is “Ned’s Bench” and the other “Peggy’s Bench”. It is a beautiful spot to visit and remember them both.
Ned is the last survivor of his siblings. In addition to his nieces, nephews and cousins around the country, he leaves behind his four children. Marianne Sullivan Van Baars m. to David Van Baars of Raymond, Maine., Dianne Sullivan McNeal m. to Andrew McNeal of St. Thomas Virgin Islands, Peter Sullivan of Cape Elizabeth, Maine and David Sullivan m. Cindy (Jason) Sullivan of Higganum Ct. His grandchildren are Zachary, Sasha and Natalie Van Baars, Joshua Sullivan and Carter and Kyle Sullivan. He also leaves behind special family friend and neighbor Joan Regan of Boxford MA.
Services will be private. Donations can be made in Ned’s name to The Crane Estate Castlehill in Ipswich MA. http://www.thetrustees.org/donate/honorary-and-memorial-gifts/