In Memory of Charles Edmond Sullivan
Loving husband, father, teacher, guidance counselor, classic car enthusiast.
Charles Edmund Sullivan, 81, died peacefully from natural causes at his home in Claremont on March 28. Memorial services will be held at a date yet to be determined.
Chuck was born in Boston to Nell and Edmund Sullivan on December 30, 1938. He moved to Inglewood, California in 1951. He graduated from George Washington High School in Los Angeles.
In 1960, he earned a bachelor’s degree from Pepperdine University, followed by a masters in 1962.
In January 1964 he met Ruth. They were engaged shortly thereafter and married in June.
The newlyweds moved to Claremont in 1965, taking up residence on Occidental Drive, where they remained for 37 years. The couple joyfully welcomed their sons David and Darren in 1967 and 1968, respectively.
In 2002, they relocated to a historic Craftsman-Victorian in the Village, where they enjoyed taking care of their home, spending time in the garden, and developing a strong community with their neighbors.
Mr. Sullivan worked as a sixth grade teacher in West Covina, Pomona and Claremont before becoming a guidance counselor at El Roble Intermediate School. He retired in 2000.
A loving and patient father throughout their lives, David and Darren are grateful for his constant love and support, they said. Together they played many enthusiastic games of ping pong, pool, basketball and enjoyed swimming in the backyard pool and the ocean. The family spent many summers camping and travelling across the country.
In 1972, the Sullivans organized a Bible study group with other couples that is still active today. These friendships have been a source of support and fellowship for over 48 years. They raised their families and enjoyed many vacations together.
In 1985, Mr. Sullivan purchased his beloved red 1966 Mustang convertible, which has been a fixture in the community and at the annual Fourth of July parade for many years. He and his son Darren share a passion for classic cars and spent many wonderful moments together over the last several years restoring a 1978 Fiat Spider.
He and his son David enjoyed many lively discussions about politics and religion and always enjoyed spending quality time together.
Throughout his life, Mr. Sullivan enjoyed playing racquetball and golf with friends. In his younger years, his summers were filled with slow pitch baseball.
The Sullivans are members of Claremont United Church of Christ.
He is survived by his wife Ruth and his sons David (Lisa) and Darren (Simon).
“The family of Charles Sullivan wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Dr. Spier at Kaiser Ontario and MJ at Prestigious Hospice for their help in getting Chuck home to be with his family for their final loving farewell, after a two-week hospital stay,” they related.
One year Apple Pie
Chuck loved apple pies. Once Chuck and his friends harvested all the apples from the trees in our yard and made 20+ apple pies. He gave some away, froze many of them, and we enjoyed eating them for weeks. It was a good time for David and me.
Simon and I made this apple pie on the one-year anniversary of his passing.
Chuck’s pride and joy
My father, Chuck Sullivan, bought the Mustang from a neighbour back in 1980 (about then). I was not even in high school yet. He was hesitant at first to spend the $7500. My mother made the decision for him knowing it was his dream car and he would regret it forever if he didn’t buy it. Since then she refers to it as ‘her’ car.
I have many years of memories being driven around in the back seat. Going to Las Vegas was fun, but extremely hot with no AC. The beach was always fun. Once in a while, we would go up the central coast! While in university, I came down to LA with a friend to show him around Southern California. He loved the Mustang and my father offered him the keys. He said ‘Take it for a spin!’ He never let me or my brother drive it, yet he just offers the keys to a stranger. I was cross with him for years about that. My friend still won’t let me forget that.
My father would drive the car regularly and kept it running perfectly. He didn’t do the work himself as he was not mechanically inclined. We had a family mechanic who took care of it. Since he retired, our Volvo mechanic has taken over the work. He loves working on it.
It is far from a perfect car but does look perfect from afar. The Pony interior is faded from the California sun but is otherwise perfect. The white convertible top did have a split glass rear window, but that never worked out well. It always had problems with dirt getting between the glass and cracking them. It is now a plastic window. The paint is not original. It has been repainted twice. Once back in (about) 1995 and again a year later. My dad thought the colour was not quite right.
After I moved out of the country I was given permission to drive the car. I guess he didn’t think I could do much harm while living in Amsterdam. When I did, he would not let me drive it very far. He was naturally very protective of it. He was not confident it would handle a 2+ hour drive without breaking down. We tried to explain to him it needed to stretch its wheel on the open highway now and then and go for a good long drive. When I am able to fly back to LA safely, I will give it a good long run. Perhaps to Palm Springs.
I don’t think I will ever consider it really my car. It will always be my father’s car that I am now the keeper of.
Dietrik Mulder and Antonie Nijenhuis.
My American dad.
Chuck a warm welcoming friendly man, that”s how i remember him. He had a great speech talent, which he did show perfectly on my wedding.
As guest of the Sullivan family i visited together with my grandfather of 90+ Chuck and Ruth at there beautifull home…and even grandfather Antonie did not speak English i never saw him so relaxed. Chuck thank you so much….
As my El Roble counselor and a newcomer to Claremont, Chuck made we feel welcomed and let me know that I could always come to him if needed. Later, as a troubled and rebellious teen, Chuck and Ruth were always there for me, without judgement and with open arms regardless of the trouble that David and I often got into. They were my rock and source of stability growing up and part of the reason I am who I am today.
Chuck was the most loving, gentle, and caring soul that I have ever had the pleasure to know and I will miss him and his smile dearly. Claremont won’t be the same without you!
Throughout our lives, our paths cross with many people! However, some seem to “stick” to our hearts❤️forever, whether we are near or far. My friendship started with Chuck and Ruth 30 years ago. We met at church and their warm and accepting love won my heart instantly. I remember many fine dinners and fun parties (including a lovely wedding shower for my daughter) hosted at their lovely home. Always lots of laughter and fun.
In time, I learned that Chuck and I had a mutual love for racquetball. After playing a game or two I knew he was a few leagues above me!! He was so kind and patient but played a A++ game for sure!!!😊 Soon I knew I made a better “ cheerleader” for him, than an opponent!! Great memories.
I’m thankful the times I had with Chuck, and look forward to seeing more of you Ruth. My love and prayers are with you and your family.
Sheila Rapp Taylor
I think our first real encounter with the Sullivans was at a class we attended together at our church. I don’t remember much about the class, but from then on have enjoyed Ruth and Chuck. Have loved seeing them at the grocery store, concerts in the park, Christmas parties. Other than loving Chuck’s gentle, fun personality, our family truly appreciated and valued him as a counselor at El Roble middleschool. He was the guidance counselor for all three of our children and a grandchild. How comforting for us to know our children were supervised by a Godly, caring and wise friend.
God promises to be a husband to the widow. May you find peace and great strength in those promises, dear Ruth. May God bless you as you embark on this new phase of your life. I trust you sense the power in the prayers of your friends who love and care.
Chuck Sullivan will be in my memory for his open smile and lasting hug. Each time he greeted me it was with open arms and a warm welcome. Although I have known Chuck for over 50 years; it has been the past eight years that have come to mean so much to me. Chuck was so gracious and patient as he chauffeured Ruth and I (Ruth) around to the many Garage Sales that were on our schedule. One time we took his red Mustang out on one of our excusions and came back to their home with the back seat full of 4′-5′ tall plants for the their yard with me in the middle of the greenery. What fun we had, and of course, we always treated Chuck to his favorite lunch spot in Clarmont. So many memories over the several decades to cherish. My condolences to Ruth, David and Darren and thanks for sharing Chuck with so many of us! Ruth Wenger Humes
Harold and I have many fond memories of spending time with Chuck and Ruth. Whether it was at Forest Home or in their home, there was always laughter and good food.
I remember garage sales, playing games, and treasured conversations. We loved Chuck’s sense of humor! When I had a heart valve replacement Chuck’s comment was that he had that done on his car!
Harold and I are so thankful for many years of memories with Chuck and Ruth. Our love and prayers are with Ruth and the family.
I met Chuck through Ruth as she and I met in college in 1960 and became best friends. After graduation Ruth took a teaching position in California and I remained in Illinois. I told her she would meet someone within a year and get married. Ruth did just that and our friendship expanded to now include husbands. Over the years we were able to see each other but because of the distance not as often as I would have wished. The telephone and mail kept us in touch. Our families grew up and our daughter chose to attend a California college. Ruth and Chuck went with us to visit the college. They completely supported us and helped us get Pam settled. Even to the point of helping us gather furniture for her. Other memories that come to mind are a week long California driving trip together and another trip to the Island of Kauai. They always welcomed us to their home with opened arms. We have been blessed to have them in our life. Chuck is very missed and will always be family to us.
What I will remember most about Chuck is the way his smile made you feel that everything was right in the world. A smile from him would blanket me in the warmest feeling of love, tenderness and care.
A truly genuine, loving, kind and gentle soul who will remain forever in our hearts.
My love and condolences go out to Ruth and Family….
Chuck became my good friend when I started to date Rich. He will be sorely missed, like a brother. He enjoyed deliberately annoying me during Trivial Pursuit games, but he was also kind and ready to assist us in our moves, and with anything else when we needed help. He was empathetic, a rare quality. I remember one time when his eyes filled with tears over a particular sadness that we were facing. He prayed for us during tough times, and he rejoiced with us during good times. His friendship was an exceptional one, for over 58 years!!
I know Chuck in his later years and will always remember his warm smile and greeting. Sending my deepest sympathy to Ruth and his two sons. Marjorie Heady
To have a friend, a best friend, for over 67 years is unusual. That was who Chuck Sullivan was in my life…..starting with Bret Harte Junior High School in 1952, then Washington High, Harbor Junior College, and then into our adult years. Each of us was best man in the other’s wedding, even though we had to fly across the country, as we were living in different places at the time. We were part of the same church group growing up, Vermont Avenue Presbyterian, and played church ball together, served as co-editors of the junior high news letter, and each served, at different times, as youth council president. As married couples, we went on vacations together. Athletic competition continued into our late 70’s, as we had weekly golf contests…..putting and driving for accuracy.
We were there for each other through medical challenges, and personal life challenges. I can’t ever recall a major argument between us. The following from Isaiah 40:31 is the Bible verse that first came to mind upon hearing of Chuck’s passing: “But those who hope in the Lord, will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
Dear Ruth and Family,
Having met you both over 50 years ago and remained friends ever since has been a real blessing in my life. Always remember that some one in Tucson thinks of you often and remembers Chuck’s loving and caring spirit.
Love, Don Roarty
Two years ago we were in California and Don said “I want you to meet my dear friends Chuck and Ruth”. Don called and we were invited for dinner. I was so very warmly welcomed with a huge hug from both of you and felt I had known you forever. Ginny Roarty
Such a gentle, soulful, elegant, smooth human being. His love for his family and friends was palpable and a blessing to experience.
My most sincere love to Ruth, Darren, Simon, Lisa and David.
This is such a hard thing to do because on March 28 I lost one of my dearest friends. My husband and I became friends with Chuck and Ruth many years ago when we went to a wonderful party at their home. It was a crazy dinner with many plates and utensils used during the dinner, by EACH guest. Ruth said she could use help cleaning up the next day. Dick and I volunteered because we wanted to get to know them better and after all, they had a beautiful new home so how hard would it be to load the dishwasher, right? Well, to my amazement, there was no dishwasher, she took it out and put in a cupboard. Needless to say,I got to know them very well. Dick and I were part of the original Bible Study they formed in 1972. We traveled extensively together and had many wonderful years together. My husband was in Heaven to welcome Chuck. I will miss Chuck so much and my prayers are with Ruth, David and Lisa, Darren and Simon.
I met Chuck and Ruth’s son Darren at Cal Poly SLO in 1989. We became great friends and when I visited Darren at Ruth and Chuck’s Claremont home they were so welcoming. I even got to drive the Mustang! I don’t even think Chuck allowed Darren to drive it at the time so I was truly honored. Chuck seemed like such a calm, thoughtful person which must have made him the perfect match for the educational field. My condolences to the family.
Merritt Humphrey Verrill
Mr. Sullivan was my 7th grade guidance counselor at El Roble a million years ago. He was so kind and patient and understanding. I felt supported as I began the complicated journey known as junior high. Many years later, I ran into him in the elevator at the Pomona courthouse. Jury duty. I knew, having been raised by teachers, that he wouldn’t actually remember me, so I introduced myself. God bless him he managed to make me feel as if he did, indeed, remember me. What a wonderful quality. I imagine he’s missed terribly. He made a difference in my life.
I had the pleasure of knowing Chuck through my dear friend Ruth. He was always very loving and supportive of her and helpful in any way he could. Loved seeing him in the 4th of July parade and going to the concerts in the park with them. You both are always in my heart ❤️
With a smile and carefully thought out plan, Chuck arrived with Ruth well before 8 at Claremont Graduate University to be prepared for the 9 am start time for Ruth and I to teach master’s graduate students. Then just as pleasantly he would take his leave for the rest of the 6 hr teaching day! Wherever he was at home or in the classroom, we felt our best with his understanding and empathy. I too give thanks for the team spirit he offered graciously!
Angela and Nigel Vince
We shall always remember Chuck with the greatest affection. From the time of Simon and Darren’s marriage he and Ruth have made us feel so very welcome in their home and their family. Despite Chuck’s failing health, they both made it over to us in England for the wedding. He was a dear man and we hold him in our hearts.
Chuck was always so kind to all of David’s friends. Every time I saw him he had a smile and emanated joy and kindness. He was a wonderful father and raised a wonderful son. He touched so many and lives on through their memories and the good he inspired in others.
To the Sullivan family-Chuckie and Ruthie
David and Darren
You are my “forever”friends. Fifty years ago
you invited us into your home and hearts.
Thank you Chuck for teaching my two sons and
for being a man of high character and integrity. We miss you already. A special
place in Heaven has been reserved for you.
Your friend LoLo Parker
I grew up down the street from the Sullivan’s house and spent more time there than any other of my friend’s homes. Chuck influenced the direction of my youth more than anyone other than my parents. As a young kid hanging out at the Sullivan’s, he was always kind to me and took a genuine interest in the details of my life. His interest was more than just neighborly, it was just how we was, a compassionate and engaged person. As a 7th grader at El Roble, and one that wasn’t adjusting as well as others, Chuck (I later found out) arranged for me to become a student counselor. In that role I found out that others had struggles similar, and different, than mine. He was responsible for awakening an empathy and compassion in me that lives on to this day. He also connected me into the broader school community which was very much struggling to do on my own. As a high schooler (and even before) David, Darren and I were always more adventurous than conventional rules allowed. Chuck was always the one that caught us. He had a way of handling our missteps in a way that left our dignity in-tact and with the understanding that we were not ever to do those things again, and we didn’t. I think what I like most of all about Chuck was that he was steady. I recall every year he sanded and re-sealed the wood exterior paneling on the front of the house. It was an all weekend job and he did it with expert skill and patience. It looked better 20 years on than it did when it was new. He faithfully took care of his wife and family. He was an active, caring and contributing member of the community. He did good by everyone, for the benefit of everyone. I will miss you Chuck. Thank you for everything.
Dennis and LaMoine Farrar
What a dear friend we have had since our children were small‼️Chuck had such a warm welcoming positive spirit that was so dear to our hearts‼️We thank GOD that HE allowed us to have all these years together as Special friends united in heart through our Lord Jesus Christ‼️Thank You God for Chuck‼️‼️‼️😆❤️
Chuck joined our Sunday School group at Vermont Ave. Presbyterian Church early in the junior high years and I remember him from that time on. He was a very regular attender, always a part of any extracurricular activities. I remember well how he enjoyed a good time and his sense of humor! As a young man, he was also very ambitious. He was one of the first to have his own car.
I am so glad we remained friends all these years,along with being able to enjoy Ruth’s friendship. God blessed him with a wonderful wife!
Molly and Tony Perez
Tony remembers his smile whenever he would see him. We were honored to be there when he needed a little help. Will definitely miss seeing him cruise around in his red convertible Mustang. Sweetest man anyone could ever know. Rest in the Lord hands. Ruth,may God’s strength and peace be with you and your family. 🙏❤️
We only met Chuck a few times but enjoyed the meals we had with you and are thankful for the family you raised together. The pictures capture the love and fun over the years. We continue to experience that with David as he brings these same qualities to our family gatherings. We look forward to seeing you again and to meeting Darren and Simon when we can travel again. The music and pictures so capture the many sides of Chuck. Thanks for sharing them with us.
Ron and Janet Riegel
Chuck’s enthusiasm for life and his sense of humor was contagious!! He always had something funny to say. He was so sharp and witty. We admired him.
He was so romantic and caring with Ruth. Whenever they walked in the neighborhood, he always held her hand. His red Mustang and his sport hat were Chuck’s signature. We loved watching him run around the neighborhood in it and of course, in our Fourth of July celebration. When his sons visited him, they would go for a ride together. Ruth rode with him in Mustang during the Fourth of July Parade. For years, Chuck and Ruth picked up produce at the end of each Sunday’s Farmer’s Market. Chuck was such a trooper. It was over a 100 degrees on some days and both Chuck and Ruth would unload their car and send the produce to Crossroads. I don’t know how they did it week after week. Chuck always had a smile on his face and joking around during the extreme heat and humidity. He was such an amazing man. We miss him.
Chuck was such a peaceful, joyful person. I never saw him without a gentle smile on his face and a kind word coming from his mouth. The love he and Ruth shared was clear and beautiful. He is already very much missed in our church and community.
I have such an awesome image of chuck cruising in his mustang flying through the sky waving to all of us. What a blessing to know him and what incredible men he helped raise. I am forever grateful.
Nancy and Ralph Patterson
Dear Ruth, Darren and David,
I was saddened to learn about Chuck’s passing. He was such a wonderful colleague and friend while we were together at El Roble. I have many fond memories of Chuck. Nancy and I extend our deepest sympathy to all of you.
Dear Ruth, I am so sorry to hear of Chuck’s passing. You two have always been such an incredibly devoted couple. When this quarantine is over I hope we can get together for lunch.
Rest in peace with Jesus. Will miss seeing you drive down our street in your red convertible Mustang and waving as you drive by as I’m outside watering the yard. Tony and Molly Perez️✝️
Leave a Tribute
Great is Thy Failfulness
in honour of Chuck Sullivan
Performed by Case Keough
John 13: 34-35
Love each other just as I have loved you. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
When I’m Gone – Lyman Hancock
When I come to the end of my journey
And I travel my last weary mile
Just forget if you can, that I ever frowned
And remember only the smile
Forget unkind words I have spoken
Remember some good I have done
Forget that I ever had heartache
And remember I’ve had loads of fun
Forget that I’ve stumbled and blundered
And sometimes fell by the way
Remember I have fought some hard battles
And won, ere the close of the day
Then forget to grieve for my going
I would not have you sad for a day
But in summer just gather some flowers
And remember the place where I lay
And come in the shade of evening
When the sun paints the sky in the west
Stand for a few moments beside me
And remember only my best