Dorothea Sullivan

Obituary of Dorothea Linson Sullivan

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Dorothea Linson Sullivan March 6, 1940 — June 26, 2023 Dossie Sullivan of Rowayton, Connecticut, beloved mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, aunt, and friend, died on Monday, June 26, 2023. She was 83. A committed gardener, fierce bridge competitor, inveterate New Yorker, adventurous traveler, good-humored golfer, wise counselor, benevolent matriarch, and one-of-a-kind friend, Dossie will be remembered most of all for her love of laughter, her enthusiastic and accepting love of people, and the devotion and gratitude she inspired in so many. Born the youngest of three children to Dorothy K. and Edward V. Linson of New York, New York, Dossie had a nomadic childhood, with moves from New Rochelle to Riverdale, N.Y., then to Evanston, Illinois, and back again to Riverdale for most of high school. The family even had a brief stint in exotic Mesa, Arizona, where she regrets her mother would not let them try Mexican food. Bright and spunky Dossie chafed under the tutelage of strict Irish nuns but was buoyed by her knack for making friends and the unconditional love of her doting, light-hearted aunt and uncle, Effie and Tony Becker. At Rosemont College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania—a Catholic women's college where, as she liked to remind her three children, she had a nightly curfew, dress code, daily Mass, and more rules than they could have dreamed of—she made lifelong friends, broke a guy named Jake's heart (he comes back later), and went on a fateful blind date with Bill Sullivan, whom she later claimed to have fallen for because he had a cool car, a black Chevy with fins. The two married in 1961, the summer after graduation, and three children quickly followed. In 1970, Dossie convinced Bill to leave his hometown of Allenhurst, N.J., and move the family to Rowayton, Connecticut, in what she'd later call the best decision of her life. There she'd happily stay for fifty-three years. Inspired by the burgeoning women's movement, she took a job at a local travel agency, and soon after opened her own business, Rowayton Travel. Though dealing with home, family, business ownership, and a rapidly changing travel industry proved daunting—her time in travel witnessed the advent of computers and the deregulation of the airline industry—she bonded with her all-women employees and took the chance to see the world, visiting countless far-flung locales and setting foot on every continent except Antarctica. With the help of massive quantities of Nestea powdered iced tea, Dossie also managed to cook all the family's meals, do the laundry, enthusiastically attend kids' school and sporting events, act as typist for school papers, pack for sailing trips with Bill and ski weekends in Vermont, serve as Santa Claus, and rev up for boozy events and excursions with the New York Stock Exchange crew. Once the children left the nest and retirement loomed, Dossie and Bill started to think maybe this whole marriage thing wasn't working out. A cancer diagnosis and later divorce paradoxically catapulted her into a period of hard-won personal discovery and emotional growth that would define the rest of Dossie's life and turn her into the true inspiration missed by so many today. The years that followed were some of her happiest. Dossie became a grandmother six times over, moved into her beloved little house on Crest Road, nurtured friendships old and new, volunteered, met with her investment, garden, and book clubs, played golf and competitive bridge, and drove and flew many miles to spend time with her three grateful children and their families. At 60, she earned a Master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from Pace University and graduated first in her class. While never formally employed as a counselor, she'd spend hours on the phone with family and friends for the rest of her life, willingly listening to and encouraging others with the wisdom she'd gained. Though she never married again, Dossie did reconnect in her late sixties with an old college beau, Lt. General John "Jake" Jaquish, in a whirlwind romance conducted at first via email and then with many happy visits back and forth between Rowayton and his home in Coppell, Texas. A half-century after he first offered it, she finally accepted Jake's fraternity pin, which she wore on a chain around her neck. Dossie was an enthusiast, a people person, and a giver. She had a deep love for Rowayton, her family and friends, her garden, CostCo, and playing games on her iPad. She was especially proud of her house, her window boxes, her skill at New York City driving, and her children and grandchildren, not in that order. She disliked all forms of pretention. She will be remembered for her absolute authenticity, her easy laugh, her army of loyal friends and admirers, her strange taste in ice cream, her powerlessness over starchy snacks, and her twenty-seven pairs of black pants. She was completely herself, always fun to be with, and she absolutely excelled at making everyone around her feel uniquely loved and special. She is survived by her three children, Clare Sullivan Adams of Cambridgeport, Vermont, Duke Sullivan of Hingham, Massachusetts and his wife Deb, and Thea Sullivan of Ojai, California, and husband Brian Schlaak, grandchildren Halle, Nate, and Carly Sullivan, Lizzy and Maggie Adams, and Roxy Schlaak, and by her brother, William Linson of Castle Rock, Colorado. Gone before her were her parents, Dorothy K. and Edward V. Linson, her sister Valerie Stuart, and her companion John "Jake" Jaquish. A memorial service will be held at the United Church of Rowayton, 210 Rowayton Avenue, Norwalk, CT, 06853, on Saturday, July 22, at noon, with a reception in the church hall to follow. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The Rowayton Gardeners, P.O. Box 164, Rowayton, CT, 06853.
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Memorial Service

12:00 pm
Saturday, July 22, 2023
United Church Of Rowayton
210 Rowayton Avenue
Norwalk, Connecticut, United States

Urn Burial in Memorial Garden

United Church of Rowayton
210 Rowayton Ave
Norwalk, Connecticut, United States
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Dorothea Sullivan

In Loving Memory

Dorothea Sullivan

1940 - 2023

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