Gene Sullivan died peacefully surrounded by his wife of 49 years, Eileen, and those closest to him. He left this world as he lived in it, with courage and dignity and in peace knowing those he loved knew how much they meant to him.
He was born in New York City and his big Irish family moved to Pearl River in his teens. He was the oldest of six children of Mary and John, and throughout his life set the example for those who followed. His brothers and sister always saw him as a leader, and he held their lifelong love and respect. Honor, courage, loyalty and family were at the core of who he was and evidenced by his distinguished life and the love of his family, friends and fellow golfers.
Immediately after high school, he joined the U.S. Army, eventually assigned to the Big Red One Unit in Vietnam, where he served his country with distinction. A decorated combat veteran, he was awarded the Bronze Star, Gallantry Cross and the Army Air Medal.
Throughout his life, he volunteered with veteran groups to support and honor all who served our country and to help create understanding of the sacrifices made by our military in Vietnam.
Continuing a life of service, Gene joined the New York City Police Department in 1973. He was appointed to several elite units and special details. He successfully led his teams on a number of high profile cases and through discipline and hard work, he rose through the ranks, ending his exemplary career at the rank of lieutenant, commanding the 19th precinct detective squad.
He was a highly decorated officer and member of the Honor Legion of the NYPD.
He finished his professional life as a security consultant at the private Chapin School in New York City. He was also a graduate of the New York Institute of Technology.
Gene was a loving husband, father, brother, uncle and friend. He met Eileen Simmons at their Pearl River High School Prom in 1968 and they began a relationship that has spanned five decades and the parenting of two children, Kelly and Timothy, whom he so loved and was so proud of for all they have accomplished.
Despite all his professional achievements, the one title that meant the most was simply being “Pa,” a term of affection used by John Anton III and Julia Eileen Braunagel, his grandchildren and the light of his life. He loved his home with them, Eileen and his devoted daughter and son-in-law, Kelly and John Braunagel. His family was complete with the addition of Seth Kozial following his marriage to Timothy. They deeply mourn his passing.
Gene joins his brothers Jack and Daniel and sister-in-law Barbara in death, and leaves behind his heartbroken brother and sister James and Maureen, his sisters-in-law Kathy and Nora, and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation was held Aug. 19 at Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush Funeral Home, 117 Maple Ave., Monroe.
A Funeral Mass was celebrated Aug. 20 at St. Margaret’s Church in Pearl River.
Interment followed at St. Anthony’s Cemetery in Nanuet.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to the philanthropic organizations that meant so much to Gene, the Wounded Warrior Project (www.woundedwarriorproject.org) and St. Jude’s Children Hospital (www.stjude.org).
Arrangements by Smith, Seaman & Quackenbush, Inc. Funeral Home (845-782-8185; www.ssqfuneralhome.com).