Anna Mary (Messerly) Sullivan, age 99, passed away peacefully on Saturday evening, December 21, 2019 at Eagle Ridge Personal Care Home where she had been a resident since 2018.
Born at home on September 9, 1920 in Lock Haven, she was the eldest child of Clyde Jay and Eleanor P. (Dickey) Messerly and the Granddaughter of Commissioner and Mrs. Adam (Sarah Earon) Dickey and Mr. and Mrs. Samuel (Elizabeth Woesner) Messerly.
Anna Mary was raised in Lock Haven, attending Penn School and Lock Haven High School where she was Valedictorian of the graduating class of 1938. Her Valedictorian address, “Equal Rights for All” would reflect that she was born just three weeks after the nineteenth amendment for voting rights was ratified. She was unable to deliver her speech due to illness.
Anna Mary Sullivan received a full academic scholarship to Hood College, Frederick, MD where she was a member of the Mortarboard Society and President of “The Marionettes”, the Play group of Hood College. She graduated with honors from Hood in 1942 with a degree in History, a Minor in English and a teaching certification in French. She returned the following Fall to Lock Haven to begin her teaching career at the Mill Hall High School where she directed plays and taught English. During this time she was an actress for the community-wide “Milk Plays”; an organization which performed plays during the war to raise milk money for local school children. She also directed and performed in “The Playmakers”, a performing company and precursor to the Millbrook Playhouse during the 40’s and 50’s.
Anna Mary met John Sullivan in October of 1936 when she was just 16 years old. He asked a friend to knock on her front door at 402 W. Main Street and asked to be introduced. Anna Mary invited him into her home wherein he left a few hours later with the gift of a Fairy Stone cross. He transferred the Fairy Stone cross from pocket to pocket for many years as he navigated his life in the seminary at Catholic University and with the Sulpician Seminary in Washington, DC.
He returned to Lock Haven in 1943 and married Anna Mary on January 29, 1944 at the Immaculate Conception Church in Lock Haven.
In October of 1947, Mrs. Sullivan, along with Mrs. Lee Greiner, hosted a group of 12 young marrieds at Mrs. Sullivan’s second floor apartment home at the Griffin Apartments on West Water Street. The purpose of the evening was to begin a Book Club that would meet in the evenings once a month throughout the school year. In keeping with the upcoming Halloween holiday, Mrs. Sullivan served chocolate cupcakes with orange icing and coffee and tea. While the group of ladies changed throughout the years, this Book Club celebrated 60 years together in 2007. Mrs. Sullivan was the last surviving member of the original twelve ladies The Book Club still meets today.
She joined the faculty of the Lock Haven Junior High School in September of 1955 where she taught eighth grade English. A strict grammarian, students will remember diagramming sentences as well as memorizing Longfellow’s “Evangeline”. Anna Mary earned her Masters degree in Education Counseling and Psychology from the Penn State University. She then joined the Lock Haven Senior High School in the Fall of 1962 where she partnered with Joe Danis and became the girls’ Guidance counselor. She retired from the Keystone Central School District in 1982.
Mrs. Sullivan was a very proud member of the Daughters of the American Revolution and traced her ancestors back to before the Revolution in Dauphin and parts of Lycoming (later Clinton) county and to Munseytown (later Dunnstown). She was a member of the Clinton County Historical Society. She and her husband were life members of The Friends of the Ross Library, and a life Patron of the Millbrook Playhouse. Mrs. Sullivan was a life member and Past President of the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees and was a member of the Penn State and Hood College Alumnae Associations and also past President of the Lock Haven High School Alumnae Association. She and her husband were volunteers at the Lock Haven Hospital in their retirement. Mrs. Sullivan always enjoyed a challenge. In her retirement she continued the travel that she and her husband had begun and traveled to six of the seven continents. She went on safari in South Africa at the age of 88 with her daughters and granddaughters and even parasailed over Calibogie Sound at Hilton Head with her granddaughters at the age of 86.
Mrs. Sullivan’s last curtain call was in 2006 when, at the age of 86, she played the eldest woman in the Millbrook Play, “Passages: A Tapestry of Women”, a play about life stages of women.
In addition to her husband and parents, Mrs. Sullivan was pre-deceased by an infant daughter, Mary Eleanor Sullivan; a brother Clyde Dickey Messerly; a sister, Eleanor M. Harner; two step brothers; Tom Mann (Irene) and Dick Mann, (Janet).
Anna Mary Sullivan is survived by two daughters; Anne D. Sullivan Kulander (Byron), Kingwood, TX, and Christine Sullivan Hampton (Chuck) Atlanta, GA, and a son, Dr. John Jay Sullivan (Lori), of Centre Hall, PA. She is also survived by two sisters-in- law; Blanche (Pluff) Messerly and Janet (Duke) Mann. She will be very sorely missed by her grandchildren, Dr. Christopher Kulander (Teri), Houston, TX, John Robert Sullivan, Pittsburgh, PA, Sarah Kate Hampton, Atlanta, GA, and Mary Cameron Hampton (Luke Robert), Augusta, GA.
She is also survived by many loving nieces and nephews in Maryland and Virginia as well as younger colleagues who enjoyed her quick wit and ability to remember jokes and spin stories. The family is forever grateful to the loving care of everyone at Eagle Ridge Personal Care home and all her friends who became family to her.
In her high school yearbook is written the comment: “Enjoys a thoughtful argument and, oh, so beautiful!”
Indeed, Mrs. Sullivan was a meaningful communicator and a beautiful soul.
Requiescat In Pace.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Clinton County Paws of Hope, 68 Cider Press Rd., Lock Haven, PA 17745,
Clinton County SPCA, 33 Mill Hall Rd., Lock Haven, PA, 17745
Or The Ross Library, 232 W. Main St. Lock Haven, Pa. 17745,
A Memorial service will be held at a later date.
Funeral arrangements have been entrusted to the Yost-Gedon Funeral Home.
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