Obituary for Mary "Katy" Sullivan (Neff)
Mary Catherine “Katy” (nee Neff) Sullivan, 84, of Chanhassen, MN, passed away on November 3, 2017 with her family by her side. Katy was born in Sioux City, Iowa, to Mary and Frederick Neff but was raised in Chicago with her sisters Nancy and Suzy. Katy was the wife of the late James H. Sullivan.
Katy attended Mercy High School in Chicago, graduating in 1950 as Valedictorian of her class. At Purdue University, Katy earned a BA degree in English and Theater and won the Purdue Playshop Gold Key Award for her role in The Glass Menagerie. Following Purdue, Katy lived in New York and England as a working actor. Upon returning to Chicago, Katy taught English at Oak Park High School.
Katy married James H. Sullivan on December 26th, 1956 in Chicago. Jim and Katy moved to Minnesota in 1958 and raised their six children Nora (Nick) Weir, Mary (Doug) Bushard, Jack, Gavin, Patrick and Kelly (Steve) Burns in Edina. Katy was devoted to her 9 grandchildren: Ryann and Dylan Weir, Siobhan Sullivan, Cohen Smith, Margaret, Joey and Sean Sullivan, and Rory and Fionnula Burns.
Katy loved cooking and wrote a weekly food column for The Edina Sun. She and Jim were world travelers and founded a travel agency in the 1980's which Katy managed. To truly know Katy was to be a guest at one of her many dinner parties. Often these celebrations championed foreign cultures and cuisines and might include a slide show of a recent visit to a far-off land or a talk by an artist or writer who would discuss the culture of the evening. The most legendary of these events was the annual St Patrick's Day party which concluded at midnight with a frigid parade around the block led by an Irish Bagpipe band.
Katy was an accomplished painter, avid reader, master gardener, great thinker, friend, mother, sister and grandmother. She was unflappable. Katy moved through the world with grace, good humor and tenacity. But the MOST indelible thing about Katy Sullivan - to folks who met her briefly or to friends and family who knew her for years - was her laugh. She had an infectious, unmistakable laugh which brought joy to everyone around her. We will all miss her very much.
A celebration of Katy's life will take place at SummerWood of Chanhassen in the chapel at 11:30am on Wednesday, November 22, 2017 with a luncheon to follow. In lieu of flowers, the Sullivan family requests donations be sent in memory of Katy Sullivan to: www.alz.org/mnnd or Alzheimer's Association of Minnesota and North Dakota, 7900 W 78th St #100, Minneapolis, MN. 55439.