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Robert Egan Sullivan ’49

A picture of Robert Sullivan

Robert Egan Sullivan ’49, January 26, 2010, in La Mesa, California. Robert earned a BA from Reed in chemistry and an MEd from Oregon State University. “The most important thing I learned at Reed was to keep an open mind and to believe very little that I heard without first conducting my own investigation.” Robert said he valued his study with Reed's chemistry department and taking classes from F.L. Griffin [mathematics 1911-56]. Robert taught chemistry, mathematics, and general science in public schools for several years then worked as a physical chemist for the U.S. Navy in Pasadena and San Diego. He became a computer specialist, performing scientific programming, and served as a training coordinator. In San Diego, he served on the missionary commission of San Carlos Methodist Church. As a result of his experiences with the organization in border towns of Mexico, he began studying Spanish. This study led to a BA in Spanish linguistics and a translator's license from San Diego State University. Robert helped translate Invitación a la muerte, by Mexican dramatist Xavier Villaurrutiua, a play based on Hamlet set in modern day Mexico City. His favorite activities were reading, travel, and bridge. A frequent participant in bridge games at Reed, he later became a life master in the American Contract Bridge League and attended tournaments in Hawaii, Nevada, Arizona, and California. Two tournament partners were Carol Ellsworth Wilkinson ’51 and Stuart Oliver ’52. Robert spent considerable time visiting old mining towns of the West, and traveled extensively in Mexico, wintering in Puerto Vallarta, where he owned a small grocery store. He was married to Cicely Hargrove; they divorced, after which he adopted a son, who was a Nicaraguan refugee. Survivors include his son and five grandchildren.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2011

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