Paul V. Sullivan – 84
On December 20, 2020, Paul V. “Sull” Sullivan went home to the lord after an ongoing battle with Parkinson’s. The first of seven children, Paul was born July 11,1936 to Paul and Helen (Gallagher) Sullivan. Paul was an avid athlete in school. By the time he was 13, he pitched American Legion Baseball. Paul lettered in basketball, track, and football for Anaconda High. As a senior, in 1954, he had a career high of 37 points against Butte High at the Butte Civic Center. Paul was a first-team All-State contender who played in the North-South All-Star basketball game. His sweet jump-hook earned him the nickname, "The Hook with the Look". He received a basketball & track scholarship to Montana State University in Missoula, (now the University of Montana), where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree and remained a loyal Grizzly alum.
Paul married his beloved wife of 62 years, Carmina (Gianfrancesco) on June 15, 1958 in a ceremony at St. Paul’s Church in Anaconda. Many, including Paul, jokingly deemed her a saint for “putting up” with him over the years, and not a day went by when he didn’t tell her, “love you, beautiful”. With the help of family and friends, Paul nobly built the home he lived in for 48 years in between teaching, coaching and working one of his many summer jobs, as a truck operator in the Berkeley Pit.
He embraced his occupation as an educator in the Anaconda School District, where he taught physical education and history and coached for 50 years. Over the years, many of his former students would approach him to thank him for encouraging them through school.
He was instrumental in helping organize youth events in the community such as Jump Rope for Heart and The Hershey Track Meet. He was a proud blood donor, earning plaques for donating 20 plus gallons over his lifetime.
Paul helped launch the Copperhead Cross Country program in 1960. As head coach in 1970, he led the Anaconda cross country team to the Class A State Championship. He coached Copperhead basketball, track, football and Legion baseball for a combined 50 years (three of those years as head basketball and head track coach). He also officiated football, basketball, wrestling, volleyball and baseball for a combined 50 years. In 1997, he was voted assistant coach of the year by the Montana Coaches Association and received AFLAC’s National Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2003.
“Sull” had a gift for gab and was quick to entertain with a vibrant story. He was considered a walking encyclopedia of sports and Montana history. A simple conversation with Paul could turn into an extended story/lesson with precise specifics.
He was a big fan of Jeopardy and enjoyed testing his knowledge of the game. Paul was a member of the Anaconda Elks Lodge for 59 years, where he enjoyed dancing with his wife Carmie. He was a regular at Alive After Five during the summer months. As a member of the Anaconda Catholic Community, he occasionally took part in ringing the St. Peter’s Church bell after mass. For 56 years, he did not miss a beat when it came time to wear his festive green plaid suit on St. Patrick’s Day. Some students were even fortunate to have Mr. Sullivan associate a song ditty or phrase to their name. In fact, sing-a-longs were a regular occurrence at the Sullivan home with Paul leading the group on many occasions.
“Coach Sull” was big on timing everyone and everything with his famous stopwatch, from a 100-meter dash to the amount of time his grandkids were on the court or stage. He was a proud father and an amazing grandfather, who was adamant about attending their sporting and music events. Grandpa Paul was considered “the world’s best babysitter” and was the reason many of his grandkids learned to ride a bike, play sports, drive a car, or animate a song.
Paul was preceded in death by his parents Paul and Helen; his brothers Mike, John and Patrick Sullivan; brothers-in-law Bill Hickman and Patrick Delaney; father in-law & mother in-law Thomas and Camilla (Ranalli) Gianfrancesco; sisters-in law & brothers-in law Elvira & Alfred Perna, Elena (Nickie) & Fred Petrovich, Toni & John Wind; and extended family members, including Linda (Perna) McNeil and Greg Skakles.
He is survived by his wife, Carmie; daughters Callie (Brad) Halvorson and Carin Sullivan-Sanders; grandchildren Brandon, Hannah, Henry, Jayden and Mia; siblings Margaret (Maggie) Hickman, Daniel Sullivan and Marie Delaney; sisters-in-law Joan Sullivan and Rita Sullivan; goddaughter/niece Shauna (Al) Hoiland and numerous loving cousins, nieces and nephews. Services are pending and will be held at a later date.
Memorials, in lieu of flowers, are suggested to be directed to: The Anaconda Athletic Scholarship Fund or St. Peter’s Restoration Project, 217 W. Pennsylvania, Anaconda, MT 59711.
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