Oct 06, 2021 7:30 PM

William L "Bill" Sullivan (1926 - 2021)

Posted Oct 06, 2021 7:30 PM

Bill Sullivan, 94, passed away September 28, 2021. He was a lifelong resident of Wallace, Nebraska, until he moved to retirement living in Imperial in 2020. He lived his life in the warm community of a small town, where he took joy in knowing others and being known very well.

He was born November 7, 1926, at his grandparents' farm near Elsie, Nebraska, at the beginning of the Great Depression. His parents were Edward F. and Genevieve (Priest) Sullivan. Bill was raised on his parents' farm south of Wallace and attended a one-room schoolhouse until the age of 12, when he started high school in Hayes Center as a weekday boarding student, which was commonly done in the area in those days. He graduated from high school in 1943. During World War II, he completed training as a radar specialist, and was sworn into the Navy on September 2, 1945 - the very day that the war ended.

In 1950, he graduated from the Boyle Business School in Omaha and later worked for several Omaha companies. He was a member of Omaha's WOW-TV Chorus, where he met his future wife, Mary Alyce Fenton. They married in 1955 and lived in Omaha until they moved to Wallace in 1958. Bill and Mary Alyce were married for 51 years and raised five children, who will remain forever grateful for the loving home that they made.

The foundation of Bill's life was his faith in God, and he built his life on it. He had a special love for scripture, participating in many Bible study courses over the years. He encouraged his children's growth in faith by caring for his wife and children with great love, and by explaining the faith with examples found in nature and everyday experiences.

He was a member of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Wallace and was very active in parish life for more than 60 years, serving as a council member, catechism teacher and a choir director for many years. His faith also gave him reverence for the land; guidance as a father, and strength for hard work, the cattle market and Nebraska weather.

Bill took great pride in being a cattleman; he was an avid student of current research, quickly adopting new methods for rangeland and cattle management and enjoyed documenting the positive results. He knew and loved every inch of his ranch.

Music was also a major theme of Bill's life; he and his wife both loved music and sang in the community's Christmas cantatas. They also sang for weddings, anniversaries and funerals in the area for decades. True to his Irish blood, Bill also prized a fine joke, a great story and a well-turned phrase.

As part of an area coalition, Bill worked for years to secure the present location of U.S. Hwy 25 - a critical improvement to the rural region's transportation needs. He made presentations to the State Dept. of Transportation, commercial associations and state legislators. The coalition's efforts met with success, and at long last, U.S. Hwy 25 (connecting I-80 and I-70 in Kansas) was completed in 1977.

Bill had a network of friends all over the U.S.; each received a Christmas card and letter from him every year. Without fail, the letter always included a section called "The Farm Report," identified by many as their favorite part.

Photography was a lifelong hobby of Bill's that began with a wedding day gift - a camera from his wife. He went on to become a photographer of considerable skill, creating thousands of images that captured his family, friends, ranch life and the canyon pastureland that he loved so well.

Bill is survived by his children: Mary Therese Carey (husband Doug) of Lincoln, Lori Beals of Lincoln, Kathy Sullivan of Scottsbluff; Bill Sullivan (wife Marianne) of Imperial; and Noreen Placek (husband Bob) of Alliance; 13 grandchildren; 8 great-grandchildren; his sister-in-law, Donna Sullivan of North Platte; nieces; nephews; and a host of other beloved family members and friends.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Alyce; parents Ed and Genevieve Sullivan; brother John L. Sullivan; and son-in-law Doug Beals.

The Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10:00 a.m. (Central) on October 4, 2021 at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Wallace with Fr. Thomas Bush officiating. Burial will be at Morning View Cemetery, Wallace.

The Rosary will be at 6:00 pm (Central) Sunday, October 3, 2021 at the church. Visitation will be from 5:00 pm until 6:00 pm (Central) at the church.

In lieu of flowers, a charity memorial will be established later. Memorials may be sent in care of Bill Sullivan, P.O. Box 1294, Imperial, NE 69033.

Bullock Long Funeral Home of Grant is in charge of arrangements.