William Joseph Sullivan
May 20, 1926 – September 10, 2020
William (“Bill”) Joseph Sullivan, 94, a native of San Jose passed away in Oakland on Sept 10, 2020 following a short illness.
Bill was the son of Marguerite and William Francis Sullivan. He attend San Jose public schools graduating from San Jose High School in 1943. Following high school, Bill enlisted in the U.S. Navy and attended Mid-Shipman school at Notre Dame University. He trained as an aircraft carrier recognition specialist and was training for combat intelligence in Mississippi when WW II ended. He returned home to complete his undergraduate education at Santa Clara College and obtain his Masters in Education at Stanford University.
A member of the original faculty of James Lick High School in 1950, Bill taught English, Social Studies, History and Civics. He coached wrestling, cross country and was Lick’s first track and field coach. In 1964 he joined the East Side Union High School District administration, serving for many years as Director of Education and Assistant Superintendent before retiring in 1988 as Acting Superintendent. Upon retirement, he said of his chosen profession, “I didn’t regret it for a moment, I was happy going to work everyday.”
In his retirement he volunteered at the San Jose Historical Museum, O’Connor Hospital and served as a member of the Santa Clara County Grand Jury.
Bill’s intelligence, gregarious wit and charm attracted many excellent friends and colleagues throughout his life. He was outgoing and curious, a great conversationalist and a thoughtful listener. He loved a good joke and a good story, especially an Irish one. He believed in learning something new every day. He was a consummate reader of history and his children remember how he filled the family home with books.
Bill is predeceased by his wife of 67 years, Virginia (Susie) Polk. They have six children - Bill Jr. (Kathy); Michael; Hilary Stephens (Randy); Sally Portman, (Bill); Kathleen Allen, and Marty (Martha); ten grandchildren and six great grandchildren. He also leaves his sister, Sister Jeanne Sullivan, Sister of Notre Dame du Namur.
Bill’s family wishes to thank the staff and care givers of Merrill Gardens Willow Glen in San Jose for their friendship and care during the time Bill resided there, and to the staff of Mercy Care Center, Oakland.
Funeral Mass to be private. Burial on Sept 30 at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery at 1:45 pm. Open to family and friends. Due to Covid 19 restrictions, Cemetery guidelines to be followed, including the wearing of masks and social distancing. Viewing from vehicle is acceptable.