On Sunday morning May 30th, Nora Sullivan, loving wife, mother, grandmother, and friend passed away peacefully at the age of 87.
Nora, the sixth of eleven siblings, was born at home on her family’s farm in Lauragh, Co. Kerry, Ireland, to Nora and Timothy Sheehan. As a child and with her siblings, she walked miles to her one room schoolhouse. At age 13 or 14, she started working in town. A few years later, she traveled alone by boat from Cobh, Co. Cork, Ireland to New York City to start a new life in America arriving on October 11, 1952. While in New York, she worked as a nanny in Bronxville where she made many fond memories. For fun she would take the train into Grand Central Station to attend Irish dances in the city. On St. Patrick’s Day 1956, she met the love of her life Pete Sullivan who grew up not too far from her in neighboring County Cork. They were engaged on the next St. Patrick's Day 1957, and after getting married, had two children in The Bronx.
In 1962 Nora and Pete moved west to Seattle, eventually settling in an upper Rainier Beach neighborhood, a block from St. Paul Catholic Church. Over time, they had five more children. Nora is most proud of her seven children -- all of whom attended St. Paul Catholic School and Kennedy High School -- and being able to provide them the education she never had. She often encouraged them to “Look it up!” when they did not know something, and could be heard saying "Get an education. No one can take that away from you." In later years, she took great delight in becoming a grandmother and welcoming new babies to the family. Life was not easy without any extended family in Seattle but Nora made the St. Paul community her second family. In addition to being a mom and grandma, she helped in countless church events, like Sunday breakfasts, organizing funeral receptions, and regularly making sandwiches for the St. Martin de Porres Shelter.
Nora attended daily Mass for years and had an incredible faith. She would often say to her family, "God is your best friend!" The last few months of her life were not easy as she battled losing her memory. In a moment of clarity, she said, "I have served my time well here. I have nothing to be fearful of." Our family is forever thankful to her caregiver Bill McLaughlin at Marine Hills Adult Family Home who lovingly cared for her in her final days.
Nora leaves behind her beloved husband Pete Sullivan; six children: Noreen Holm (Hans), Peter Sullivan (Roberta Winch), Mary Sullivan, Eileen Schmidt (Dave), Peggy Riedeman (Joe), and Kathleen Helms (Brian); 13 grandchildren: Bryan, Brent, Zachary, and Brianna Holm; Sadie, Kelley, and John Sullivan; Sarah and Randy Schmidt; Danny and Molly Riedeman; Caitlin and Fiona Helms; six siblings: Margaret Macrae (Brisbane, Australia), Mary Shea (Whitestone, NY), Kitty Canavan (Greenville, NY), John Sheehan (Dumont, NJ), Sheila Dalton (Dumont, NJ), and Patrick Sheehan (Ridgewood, NY), and numerous nieces and nephews.
She is preceded in death by her son James Sullivan and four siblings: Gerald Sheehan (Lauragh, Co. Kerry, Ireland), Dan Sheehan (Summit, NJ), Eileen O'Neill (The Bronx), and Teddy Sheehan (Lauragh). May she rest in peace.
Rosary: Thursday, June 17, 2021, 7pm
Funeral Mass: Friday, June 18, 2021, 10am
Both will be held at St. Paul Catholic Church, 10001 57th Ave S, Seattle WA 98178.
Unfortunately, due to COVID, there can be no reception.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to: Advocacy and Caring for Children (https://www.advocacyandcaringforchildren.org/) or the St. Vincent de Paul Society.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Nora Mary (Sheehan) Sullivan, please visit our floral store.
Advocacy and Caring for Children (ACC)
100 23rd Ave S, Seattle WA 98144
St. Vincent de Paul
5950 Fourth Avenue South, Seattle WA 98108