Bill Sullivan '65

Bill Sullivan

Bill Sullivan was born on July 27, 1943 and passed away on November 27, 1986 in Cupertino, California after an eighteen month battle with brain cancer. 

Bill was from Streator, IL and earned a football scholarship at the University of Illinois. He pledged Beta Theta Pi in the fall of 1961 and began work on a degree in Electrical Engineering. 

Bill played on the freshman football team in the fall but gave up his scholarhship in the spring. He felt that the spring training program took too much time away from his studies. He went on to earn a B.S. and M.S. in Electrical Engineering and a PhD in Nuclear Engineering at Illinois.

While in graduate school in 1970, he married Mary Jo Donnelly of DeKalb. Mary Jo is the cousin of Bill's fraternity brother  George Donnelly '65. After graduation in 1972, Bill took a job with Varian Associates Medical Radiation Division in California. Bill and Mary Jo lived in Cupertino and had three children.

Read tributes to Bill on the Streator Twp High School website.


Comments from Jim Nicol '65

Bill was my best friend during our time at Beta and afterward until his tragic and untimely death.

Bill and I roomed together for 3 years at the Beta House.  We socialized after graduation while he and I attended graduate school. Bill was my Best Man for Judy and my wedding in San Jose in 1978.

Bill and I managed to stay in touch after graduation and when he was assigned to the Western US region for Varian Associates, we were able to see each other more frequently. Bill would visit and we would have dinner together in the Los Angeles area, he liked Don the Beachcomber in Marina Del Rey. When we were in the San Jose area, we would have dinner at Ernie's with Bill and Mary Jo in San Francisco.

It was a great shock and tragedy when Bill was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. Bill was very positive throughout his ordeal and I was able to visit with him when he underwent a new experimental procedure at the prestigious Huntington Hospital in Pasadena.  Unfortunately, the procedure could not cure his cancer.

Judy and I visited Bill and his wife and small children in Cupertino after he left the hospital. Bill was courageous and very hopeful in spite of the prognosis. We sadly then returned a few months later to attend his funeral.

In his memory, I contributed a memorial brick on the Beta Walkway in Bill's name at the Beta Headquarters at Miami of Ohio.

Comments from Dan Kuebler '67

Although Sully was a couple years ahead of our class, I got to know him a little more as I was also studying Electrical Engineering as was Sully.

Point is, Sully was an ultimate “Brain Trust”.  On a couple occasions I sought assistance from him on a EE problem – which he waltzed through in little time.  Of course, when Sully demonstrated how to solve the problem, he did so on plain white paper and used a “fountain pen with blue ink” for a writing instrument - exactly how he did all his homework every day on a spotless desk where everything was in order!!

I would venture a guess that Sully throughout his educational career from bachelors to doctorate – never scored less than an “A” in any course – he was that frightening good!!  Having spent my career in the high tech field of USAF fighter aviation – I can emphatically say that our “Country” lost a huge asset with the passing of our Sully....