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John J. Sullivan (1907-1942)

John J. Sullivan recognition plaquePhotograph of John J. Sullivan recognition plaque, located in Manchester NH at the corners of Massabesic Street and Spruce Street.  Copyright of Martin Miccio for the City of Manchester, and used here with permission.

On 4 April 1950 an ordinance was passed “establishing John J. Sullivan Square in East Manchester… where Massabesic Street and Spruce Street intersects,” and was signed by Mayor Josaphat T. Benoit. John J. Sullivan did not die in battle, as many of the other square honorees did. However his overall service to the City of Manchester, and the sudden tragedy of his death at the Cocoanut Grove fire in Boston, shocked and saddened many city residents.

His plaque reads: “”S/SGT. JOHN J. SULLIVAN. BORN FEB. 26, 1907. DIED NOV. 29, 1942. MEMBER 165th QUARTERMASTER CO. AVIATION U.S. ARMY.”

John J. Sullivan 1907-1942John J. Sullivan 1907-1942. Photograph property of Attorney Kathleen N. Sullivan. Used here with permission.

John J. Sullivan was born in Manchester, NH on February 26, 1907, the first child of Philip Sullivan and Hannah (Sheehan) Sullivan. Philip and Hannah were immigrants, both having been born in County Kerry, Ireland. He attended the local schools–St. Agnes School, followed by St. Joseph’s High School. He continued his education, and attended Lowell Textile School, before graduating from the New England School of Embalming. He was a businessman, co-owner of Sullivan and Connelly Funeral Home (with Arthur Connelly).

According to his niece, Attorney Kathleen N. Sullivan of Manchester: “In addition to the business interests, John Sullivan was active politically. He served five terms in the New Hampshire House of Representatives, and in his first term was the youngest member. This was the start of a family tradition: in addition to my Uncle John, Sullivan family Democratic members of the state legislature included his brother, Henry; Henry’s wife, Mary; a cousin, Francis Sullivan; and two of Francis’ sons, Joe and Frank. Most recently his niece, Mary Heath (my sister) was elected. John Sullivan also served as the chairman of the Manchester Democratic City Committee.”