Thomas Daniel "Silky" Sullivan

May 21, 1942May 31, 2013
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Thomas Daniel "Silky" Sullivan, 71, entrepreneur, restaurateur and owner of Silky O'Sullivan's, died May 31, 2013 at Methodist University Hospital. A native Memphian, he has four decades of service in promoting Memphis and Bar-B-Que to the world. Silky was a communicant of Immaculate Conception Cathedral, a graduate of CBHS where he was inducted into the Hall of Fame, former president of the Irish Society,and founding member of Irish Eyes of Memphis. He received a honorary doctorate of culinary science from Oxford University, England. He was a lover of life and people and celebrated each daily. He had a talent for making the ordinary extraordinary and brought people together in many special ways. He is survived by his wife of 21 years, Joellyn Forrester Sullivan, brother-in-law, Bill and Pat Forrester and niece and nephew, Carly and Joel Forrester. He was preceded in death by his parents, F. Daly Sullivan and Mary Sullivan Kimzey and his brother, Jerry Sullivan. The family will receive friends Sunday, June 3, from 4-6 p.m. at Memphis Funeral Home and Memorial Gardens, Poplar Avenue. The service will be 1 p.m. Monday, June 4, at the funeral home with burial in Calvary Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent to CBHS, St. Jude Children's Research Hospital , or the charity of the donor's choice . Online condolences may be expressed by visiting Memphis Funeral Home And Memorial Gardens 5599 Poplar Ave. (901)725-0100 .


  • Visitation Sunday, June 2, 2013
  • Funeral Service Monday, June 3, 2013

Thomas Daniel "Silky" Sullivan

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Tawanda Pirtle

February 10, 2014

Always will be missed....

Jacqui Laukaitis

February 7, 2014

I met Silky back in the early 80's when I worked for a company that promoted tours to Ireland in Alexandria, VA; he quickly became the company's biggest fan and began work in promoting the tours. We travelled to Miami, Detroit and Pittsburgh together. He was always the life of the room. I left the company and we parted ways, over the years, I've often thought of him when any kind of conversation about Memphis was brought up; and often wondered about Silky! I'm very sorry for your loss.

November 22, 2013

Joellyn, I just spoke with Harriet Heblon and she was telling me of your loss. I am sorry to hear this news. Miss you.
Jann Bryan (Meridian)

Jessica Mowdy

June 16, 2013

My name is Jessica Mowdy and I am Tommys great niece. Only met Tommy a few times but from what I know he was a great guy! My mom Shelby is very saddened by the news because they were very close! Rest In paradise uncle Tommy!!!

Terry Boudreaux

June 11, 2013

Joellyn, I'm sorry for your loss. I just heard; was out of town when the notice went out. Beautiful picture gallery... hugs, Terry Boudreaux '78

Phil Litman

June 11, 2013

My (late) Wife Cheryl and I first met Silky in 1985 coming down to Memphis from Massachusetts to attend our first MIM BBQ Cooking Contest. Over the dozens of years that we returned, our first and last stop was to drop by Silky`s on Beale St to embrace some truly "Southern Hospitality" personified by his outgoing engaging personality. If we missed him at his Restaurant where he was "Holding Court" we searched for him down on the River Bank at Tom Lee Park. To his lovely and charming Wife, Joellyn my Deepest Sympathy. I will truly miss this Giant of a Gentleman.

Kathleen Kiker-Parker

June 8, 2013

My sincerest sympathies to you, Joelyn and your family. I knew Silky at LSU. What a character! Blessings to you and your family. KK

frank sherman

June 7, 2013

I have many fond memories of growing up in Memphis with Silky and especially the LA Epsilon house and Southdowns. Silky touched many lives. He will be missed by all who knew him.

June 7, 2013

MET SILKY OCT 2011 WHAT A GUY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Brian Bland

June 7, 2013

Farewell, CBHS classmate! You were a character then and a character all your life -- in the best possible way. Little did we know the positive impact he'd have on Memphis. My sympathy to Joellyn and all the family.