ALBERT EUGENE “GENE” SULLIVAN months ago planned a family Labor Day celebration.
Little did he know that on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, at 11:07 p.m., after months of battling cancer, and with all his family home, his labors were eased and he joined his heavenly family.
Born in Lonoke on Feb. 8, 1936, the fifth of nine children to Joe D. and Clara Johnson Sullivan, he had a happy childhood and fond memories of growing up in Lonoke. As a young teenager he met and fell in love with the beautiful Carrie Sue Kelly and married her on May 29, 1955. Gene and Carrie had three children, and after 62 years of marriage they had seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren and one on the way. He loved each one dearly and his grandchildren fondly remember “Pepa” as a role model of Christian fatherhood.
Gene was a member of Lakewood United Methodist Church in North Little Rock. He was an active member of Gideons International and regularly spoke at churches in the Lonoke and Carlisle area. Gene was a godly man who was consistently generous, patient, and kind, and who strove to be a peacemaker where he saw a chance to provide healing where he saw conflict.
After earning a degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Arkansas, Gene was employed with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Soil Conservation Service (later reorganized as the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service.) In 1990, Gene retired from the same agency having served as the Deputy State Conservationist in California, and State Conservationist in Nebraska, Mississippi, and Arkansas. During his tenure, he also served as a member of the Missouri Basin Interagency Committee, the Tennessee Tom Bigbee Interagency Committee, the Arkansas Governor’s Water Resource Task Force, and he chaired the Arkansas Red and White River Basin Interagency Commission. He served on the United States Water Resources Team in Haiti and Hungary. Gene was a graduate of the United States Senior Executive Development Program, a past president of the Arkansas Society of Agricultural Engineers, a member of the University of Arkansas Academy of Biological and Agricultural Engineers, was inducted to the Arkansas Association of Conservation District’s Hall of Fame and received numerous state and national conservation, wildlife, and equal opportunity employment awards. Gene was a registered licensed professional engineer and land surveyor.
Following his retirement from the USDA, Gene began a second career, founding the engineering consulting business, Sullivan & Associates, P.A. He actively managed various water resource projects including the White River and Bayou Meto Regional Irrigation Water Districts. He provided consulting services on water issues in Argentina and Bolivia. Gene was active in developing state and national legislation concerning water resources. He was instrumental in developing the new Interstate 40 interchange in Lonoke and had extensive experience in planning environmentally sensitive infrastructure projects, relocating utilities, and obtaining land rights for projects under the federal Uniform Relocation Act.
Gene’s volunteer activities included serving as president of Lakewood Property Owner’s Association Board of Directors and coaching various LPOA football, softball, water polo, and track teams. He taught Sunday school and regularly ministered to the sick and the elderly.
Gene was an avid hunter and fisherman and enjoyed spending time with his children and grandchildren. He was an ardent Razorback supporter and he would never give up on his team “until the fat lady sang.” More than anything, he loved his God and his family.
Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Joe D. and Clara Sullivan, his daughter, Patricia Lynn Sullivan Seidel, and his siblings, Eunice Woodard, Rosalie Sullivan, Joe R. Sullivan, and Ray Sullivan.
Gene is survived by his wife, Carrie Sue Kelly Sullivan, his daughter, Cheryl Sue (Robert) Felcher, his son, Michael Eugene (Carol) Sullivan, his grandchildren, Chris (Kelly) Glaze, Tracee (Jen) Gardner-Glaze, Susan (Justin) Miller, Kelly (Kim) Sullivan, Michelle (Willy) Bruzatori, Kevin (Heather) Sullivan, and Staci (Hunter) McElroy, and great-grandchildren Emily Gardner, Jackson Gardner-Glaze, Eden Demirel, Brody Miller, Aiden Miller, Brinley Miller, Amelia Sullivan, and Evelyn McElroy. He is also survived by his siblings, Sally (Jerry) Johnson, Brenda (Bob) Buchanan, Doris (Wayne) Dill, Kenneth (Betty) Sullivan and a host of nieces and nephews and other family and friends, including his adopted Argentinian family, William, Grace, Florence, Willy, and Camila Bruzatori.
The family expresses their grateful appreciation to all Gene’s healthcare providers and care givers during his illness. Special appreciation is given to Jeanetta and Ginger DePriest for their loving devotion and service.
Visitation is from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m., on Thursday, Sept. 7, at Boyd Funeral Home, 207 E. 2nd St., Lonoke. Burial services will be at 10 a.m. on Friday, Sept. 8, at Lonoke Cemetery, AR-89 & Kirk Roads, Lonoke, Arkansas, followed by a celebration of Gene’s life at 11:00 a.m. at Lakewood United Methodist Church, 1922 Topf Rd., North Little Rock.
Services will be officiated by the Reverends Andrea Allen, Cindy Henry, and Luke Conway.
Please sign the online guestbook at www.boydfuneralhome.net. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Arkansas Children’s Foundation, PO Box 2222, Little Rock, AR, 72203, in memory of Albert E. “Gene” Sullivan.