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U.S. Veteran
Obituary Viewed 3175 times
August 23, 1942 - February 22, 2019

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Thomas Roger Sullivan passed away on Friday, February 22, 2019 at his residence surrounded by his family.

He was born on August 23, 1942 in Poplar Bluff, MO. He was the son of Luther Franklin “Sonny” Sullivan and Lillie Berniece Edwards.

He had 3 siblings who died during childhood then his mother died when he was just over 1 year old. He had a 4 year old sister who survived childhood with him, Margaret Rose.

He and his sister Margaret Rose grew up under very difficult circumstances during the Depression and World War II. They learned early in life about hard work, perseverance, family, and the value of education.

He studied elementary and high school in Poplar Bluff, MO and was proud to have always been the teacher’s pet. While in high school, he worked within the COE program for 3 1/2 years under the tutelage of T.G.Campbell and Henrietta Metz at Jim Hoggs Supermarket. He worked with a great bunch of student co-workers: Jim Hogg Jr, Mae Hogg, Dot and Earnest Hammons, and the super great Bill Hogg. He graduated from High School in May 1960.

In June 1960, he enrolled at the renowned Gradwohl School of Medical Laboratory Technology for 12 months and also successfully completed its required internship for 6 months, after which he obtained his diploma in 1962.

In 1962 he passed the exams and became a Certified Medical Technologist. He remained a member of the American Medical Technologists for over 50 years. He had also been an officer for the AMT Missouri State Chapter. He had met the great Chester Dzienkowski who attended a meeting in Poplar Bluff in the mid 70s.

He worked at Centerville, IL, from 1962 to 1966. In Oct 1966, during the Vietnam Era, he was drafted to serve with the US Army. He underwent basic training at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO, then transferred to Ft. McClellan, AL, for training, then assigned to Ft. Bragg, NC, where he worked as a Medical Lab Specialist until October 1968. His main job was to prepare blood which was life-saving for the troops in the field of battle. After his service in the military, he returned to Centerville to work in the Laboratory for 2 more years.

He had worked in Canton, IL, for a brief period when he was recruited to work for the Poplar Bluff VA Hospital, now the J J Pershing VA Hospital. He started work at the Laboratory on January 1971 and worked in the same place mostly in Microbiology for the remainder of his career, finally retiring in 1996.

While working at the Poplar Bluff VA, he also attended night school at TRCC and in 1973 he earned an Associate in Arts degree. He continued further studies and in 1975 he earned a degree as Associate in Applied Science in Medical Technology. During his employment at the Poplar Bluff VA, he was invited to give lectures on Microbiology to the students at TRCC, mainly on tuberculosis. He also mentored students from TRCC on the Microbiology procedures as they fulfilled their clinical rotations at the Poplar Bluff VA. He was dedicated in teaching those students as they progressed in their studies.

He was married to Shirley Armes from 1964 to 1984. Under this union Tonya Rene was born in April 1968 at Womack US Army Hospital and Thomas Roger Jr was born in Nov 1975 in Poplar Bluff, MO.

In May 1986, he married Cynthia A. Silvestre and he gained a step son, Vincent A Franco who was 3 years old at the time.

He is survived by his wife, two children, a step-son, three grandchildren (Alek, McCoy, and Chase), a daughter-in-law (Amy Lynn), a son-in-law (Scott Morse), a sister (Margaret Rose Sullivan Stewart), and 4 half brothers (Gary, Robert, Laverne, Jerry). He was preceded in death by his parents, 3 older siblings, 3 step mothers, 3 half siblings.

He loved fishing and deer hunting when he was younger. He loved beating his friends at golf and at card games. His hobby was renovating old houses and doing most of the work himself. He was blessed to have worked with many distinguished people during his professional career. He worked hard to earn a good living, always with his family in mind. He participated in community affairs and was a member of the Crime Stoppers and the Butler County Landlord Association. He took his civic duty seriously.

He was a good husband, father, step father, grandfather, and brother. He was gentle and kind and he had the patience of Job. He was a good teacher to those who were fortunate enough to learn from him.

He wants to extend his profuse thanks to his surviving sister Margaret Sullivan Stewart for taking care of him and protecting him from harm when they were both very young, when he was just over one year old and she was only four years old, and their mother had died and his father was drafted to the Army.

Together with Margaret, he wants to extend his extreme gratitude to relatives who took care of both of them as little children and young adults during very difficult times most especially to Lillian Willis and her then living husband Bill.

Visitation and funeral services will be held on Tuesday, February 26 with visitation starting at 12:00 p.m. and the funeral services starting at 2:00 p.m in the Moore Funeral Service Chapel in Poplar Bluff. Burial will be in Mt. Zion Cemetery.

” And though age and infirmity overtake me, and I come not within sight of the castle of my dreams, teach me still to be thankful for life, and for time’s olden memories that are good and sweet; and may the evening’s twilight find me gentle still”. ….. Prayer by Max Ehrmann