James Sullivan

James Sullivan

CHAMPAIGN – James Allen Sullivan, husband of Rachael O'Byrne Sullivan, died peacefully at home after a brief illness on Saturday (Nov. 18, 2017), surrounded by the family and memories he loved.

Named after both of his grandfathers, he was born in Sedalia, Mo., on Dec. 1, 1927, to Giles and Phyllis Burt Sullivan. Jim and his late sister, Jane (the late Dwyer) Murphy, were raised in Wamego, Kan., with the help of extended family after the death of their mother. In 1935, Giles married Ellen White, and the family settled in Champaign where both Jim and Jane attended Holy Cross School. During the war effort, the family moved to Washington, D.C., where he attended Georgetown Prep. He returned to Champaign and attended both Uni High and Champaign High School. He then attended the University of Illinois and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

Married on Jan. 9, 1954, at Holy Cross Church, Jim and Rachael had five children - Mike (Anne) of Elmhurst, Kevin (Nancy) of Champaign, Susan (Michelle) of Minneapolis, the late Daniel James Sullivan of Champaign and Steve (Sara) of Winnetka. The greatest legacy of Papa Jim's life is his 13 grandchildren "plus the marrieds" - Bethany (Mike) Heavener, Molly (Brian) Concannon, Jack (Sarah), Whitney, James Allen II - "Jimmy", Will, Tom, Sam, Will, Grace, Jane, Leo and Margaret. His warmth, wry humor and pride in his family's endeavors will live on forever, as will memories of Christmas Eve gatherings and epic family vacations including two trips to Ireland where he shared his love of Irish history, its tragic beauty and its music.

A proud outlaw of the O'Byrne clan, he is survived by Mary O'Byrne Murray (the late Jack O'Byrne), Robert R. Shapland, Sr. (the late Nell), and Mike & Ruth O'Byrne, all of Champaign. He was also preceded in death by Lt. General Mar McNickle (Betty), Fiery O'Byrne (Ann) and Faye Beth O'Byrne. Beloved cousin to the Everly, Burt, and Gill families and the oldest and last surviving member of the six Fritzlen, Ullrich and Sullivan cousins of their generation. Beloved as Uncle Jim to two generations of Murphy, McNickle, O'Byrne and Shapland nieces, nephews and their spouses who join us in celebrating his life.

Jim joined his father in business at Sullivan Chevrolet in 1950. During his career at "the garage," he became active in the Chevrolet Peoria and Chicago zones, and the Dealer 20 Group. In 1982, he moved the dealership from downtown Champaign to the current Sullivan-Parkhill location on North Neil Street. The dealership served as the anchor tenant to 74 Center, a real estate project developed with his close friends and business partners Bill Kuhne and the late Bill Dallenbach. Son Kevin joined the dealership in 1977, where they worked together for 20 years. He retired in 1997 and quickly changed his business card to "Ambassador." He kept a small office where he retreated to smoke his pipe, read the Wall Street Journal from cover to cover, stay connected with automotive industry news, and most importantly, enjoy the company of the employees and customers of Sullivan-Parkhill. He served on the board of Champaign National Bank and its successor boards for Bank Illinois and Busey Bank. He was also a member of Champaign Rotary Club, Champaign High "C Club," the University of Illinois Foundation, Champaign Country Club and St. Matthew Catholic Church.

He will always be remembered for his genial disposition, a pipe in his mouth and his easy smile. He loved his daily walk, his lunch groups and the camaraderie of 5 o'clock. Jim and Rachael regularly traveled the country in their motorhome visiting family and friends. In later years, he especially loved the open road and the drive from Central Illinois across the plains of his childhood to their winter stay in California.

The Sullivan family is extremely grateful to the medical staff at Carle Foundation Hospital, Springfield Memorial, Carle Hospice and ResCare HomeCare for their care and compassion. Donations in his memory may be made to the Don Moyer Boys & Girls Club (201 E. Park St., Champaign, IL 61820) or Developmental Service Center (1304 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign, IL 61821).

Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2017, with a Rosary at 3:30 p.m. at Morgan Memorial Home, 1304 Regency Drive W., Savoy, IL 61874. Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 1303 Lincolnshire Drive, Champaign, IL 61821. Interment will be private.

Condolences may be offered online at www.morganmemorialhome.com.

TLTw0136 wrote on November 20, 2017 at 1:11 pm

Farewell good servant... I always looked at Jim as a good businessman and great family man that was humble and kind. I really enjoyed getting to know him when he served as a director for BankIllinois and it's holding company. He was always a great participant and representation of our organizaiton. Jim was known by many and will be greatly missed.

Condolences and good wishes to the Sullivan family...

Teresa Twigg