Sue Sullivan loved Snohomish, and it showed
SNOHOMISH — “Lion Sue,” “Queenie Weenie,” “Community Coordinator Sue,” “Snohomish Sue.”
These are just a few of the names synonymous with the one-and-only Sue Sullivan, who died Dec. 21 at the age of 66.
One year before her death, Sullivan animatedly chatted with the Tribune about her great love for Snohomish and volunteering in and around her beloved town for 30-plus years.
In her honor, in addition to what others shared about her, the Tribune is sharing with readers a bit more of Sue’s thoughts from November 2015.
Pam Osborne, the
Snohomish Chamber of Commerce’s director, quickly bonded with Sullivan through city volunteer and community organizations
for nearly 30 years.
“She was my best friend,” Osborne said last week. “She passed away in the early morning (of Dec. 21), but the day before, I got to spend
some time with her. The beauty of Sue is, when I
talked with her, she asked about every one of my kids, how they’re doing… and, she knew it was
Chamber meeting day, so she asked how the Chamber meeting went!”
Sullivan and Osborne met in 1988 and immersed themselves in Snohomish volunteer and community organizations.
“She’s my partner in crime” Sullivan had said of Osborne in November 2015, de-scribing all their adventures together at the Evergreen
State Fairgrounds, collecting pies and volunteering Os-borne for things to do with her — sometimes without Osborne’s knowledge until just right before.
“She does a much better job than I do (in volunteering),” Osborne said in November 2015 of her best friend. “She’ll usually tell me, ‘oh by the way, we’re volunteering for this.’”
With Osborne, Sullivan founded the Snohomish Community Coordinating Committee 26 years ago. The committee, which is comprised of a variety of volunteer Snohomish-based organizations such as the library, school district, Boys & Girls Club, and emergency services like police and fire, meets once a month to share what’s going on in their different arenas.
The committee was Sullivan’s jewel among her volunteer and city
Many people in Snohomish often sought Sullivan to “get things done” because of her spirit and pull for volunteers around town.
“Sue most certainly was the most selfless person I ever met,” said Lions Club president and longtime friend Merle Kirkley. “She always worried about others and never herself. Nobody volunteered more of her time, talent and money to help others, in Snohomish, than she. Sue was Snohomish, no question.”
For Sullivan, who said in November 2015 she had loved Snohomish for as long as she could remember, Snohomish was a place of good people, good youth, and just plain “good things,” she said.
Other organizations Sulli-
van graced with her volunteerism, witty remarks and can-do attitude were the Public Safety Commission (former-
ly known as the Citizens Police Advisory Board), the Snohomish Kiwanis, the Snohomish Chamber of Commerce, the Snohomish Boys & Girls Club and other projects along the way.
Sullivan met husband Jim through work and they married 40 years ago. They made a match, and later
forged an equipment rental company together. Her parents owned the Silver King Cafe on First Street, which she took over in the 1980s.
She rode a motorcycle and did more than 50 parachute jumps at Harvey Field, her obituary notes.
were not Sue’s style. She preferred to be straight-forward and real, which is why she said she loved Snohomish so much and spent all the time and energy she did “to devote to promoting it, not for visitors, big land developers or tourism, which is fine, I guess for our community, but for the people who live here to love and appreciate it.”
She didn’t want all the credit. She constantly sang the praises of others who helped her out in the myriad of organizations with which she ran.
“They say, ‘Everyone needs one sarcastic, crazy, blunt friend to keep things real,’” Osborne wrote in an email. “Every day Sue spent a lot of time on the phone ‘checking in’ on friends. A ritual her husband Jim was used to and tried not to interrupt. But, when Sue’s voice got loud and expletives would slip, she would wave off his concern with, ‘it’s nothing, Pam and I are just talking.’ We spent almost every morning ‘talking,’ laughing, planning and occasionally solving world problems. The laughter is what I will miss most!”
The town was at a loss.
An outpouring of anecdotes and well-wishes for Sullivan began on social media the day of her passing, and have continued through this week.
A community celebration of life in her honor is being planned in coming weeks.
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