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Donald E. Sullivan ’49 was called to heaven on Saturday, July 7.
Don was born on May 7, 1928, in Richmond, Calif., the oldest of five children born to Edward J. and Mae C. Sullivan. He attended schools in the Bay Area and Bellarmine Prep in San Jose. He was also awarded Eagle Scout honors in 1947. In 1949 he graduated from SCU as a premed student and earned his medical degree in 1954 from Creighton University, Omaha, Neb.
In 1951 he married his sweetheart, Loretta Joan Weaver. Together they worked at Boys Town in Omaha, Nebraska. He then joined the US Navy Medical Corps and attended the Naval School of Aviation Medicine as a flight surgeon in 1955, receiving several commendations and medals during his service and being discharged as a Lt. Senior Grade in October 1957.
In 1957, Don and Joan moved to Yuba City, where he was hired as a county physician at Sutter County Hospital. In 1958 he opened his first family medical practice in Live Oak, and in 1964 he opened his medical practice in Gridley, where wife Joan and later daughter Laurie, both nurses, assisted him. During this time he served as chief of staff for the Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital for several terms, medical director for Valley Oaks Health Care Center, visiting physician for the Leo Chesney Correctional Facility in Live Oak and medical director for the Hovlid Center at Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital. He was also a lifetime member of the American Academy of Family Practice.
As a family practitioner, Don loved and cared for generations of families in the Gridley-Biggs-Live Oak area for over 52 years. At the time of his retirement, the hospital foundation honored Don by naming Gridley’s medical clinic The Donald E. Sullivan, M.D. Medical Specialty Center.
Don also served the community through volunteer work, including providing Pop Warner football physicals, serving as a team physician for the Gridley High School football team, and conducting polio vaccination clinics. He was a lifetime member of the Gridley Rotary Club and a member of the Sacred Heart Catholic Church and the Gridley Moose Lodge. Because of his dedication to the community, in 1982 he was awarded the Chamber of Commerce’s Man of the Year Award and received the Chamber’s Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003.
Don is survived by the love of his life and wife of 60 years, Joan, two sons, Ed, of Folsom, Bill (Tina), of Gridley, and two daughters, Kathy (John) McHenry, of Sparks, Nev., and Laurie, of Gridley, four grandchildren, Maycee Sullivan and John, Matt and Kyle McHenry, as well as four great-grandchildren, Sadye, John, Micky and Jackson. He is also survived by his brother, Terence (Ann) Sullivan, and sister, Mary Sullivan Prolo (Jeff), and numerous nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his father and mother, sister Loretta McClellan, and brother, Richard Sullivan.