William J Sullivan aka “Fat Sulli”, (80) of Bonita Springs, FL, formerly of Newport, RI passed away peacefully in his sleep on June 12, 2018. He was born on August 17, 1937 to Cornelius J and Eileen (Nash) Sullivan in Newport, RI.
He graduated from Rogers High School in 1955 and later from Salve Regina College.
He served his country as a member of the United States Air Force from 11-7-55 to 10-17-57. He worked for the Naval Underwater System Center on the Naval Base in Middletown, RI on the Trident Submarine program for 25+ years.
His lifelong love of travel started with camping all over the east coast with his 2 girls. Later the travel became worldwide along with his brother Neil and then his best friend Betty Walsh. He was well known for his likeness to Santa. For many years, he brought joy to thousands by playing that beloved character in parades, festivals and daily life. His greatest joys were time spent with Betty, his 2 girls, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Survivors include his best friend and companion, Elizabeth (Betty) Walsh, 2 daughters, Ann M (Anthony) Simmons of Fall River, MA, and Teresa M Kroes (Jerry Quist) of McBain, MI; 5 grandchildren Amanda L (Justin) Jarvie, St. Joseph, MI, Fawn M Sullivan, Fall River, MA, Meghan (Josh) Herweyer, McBain, MI, Joshua C Sullivan, Fall River, MA, Nathan P Kroes, Grand Rapids, MI; 9 great grandchildren; 2 nieces and 2 nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Cornelius (Neil) Sullivan and sister, Rita S Fish.
Visiting hours will be held at the Memorial Funeral Home, 375 Broadway, Newport, RI on June 29, 2018 from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.
Funeral services will be held Saturday, June 30, at 9:30 AM from the funeral home, followed by a Mass of Christian burial at 11:00 AM in St. Barnabas Catholic Church, 1697 East Main Road, Portsmouth.
Memorial contributions can be sent to the Cornelius J Sullivan scholarship fund at the YMCA, 792 Valley Rd, Middletown, RI 02842.