Robert John Sullivan


Robert John Sullivan died from melanoma Monday at his son’s home in Calabasas.

Sullivan was a longtime Malibu resident, moving here more than 27 years ago.

He was born in Chicago on May 21, 1923. Sullivan graduated from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1944.

Sullivan served in the Army Air Corps during WWII as a second lieutenant.

Sullivan’s lifelong avocation was aviation. He was considered a pioneer in the early days of the development of helicopters. Sullivan retired from Hughes Aircraft as an aeronautical engineer, after working there for 29 years. Previously, he spent a decade employed by Sikorsky Aviation in Connecticut.

In retirement, Sullivan threw himself into volunteer work. He was a lector at Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church, assisted at the Malibu Library and worked for the Center for Healthy Aging, dropping in on the elderly in Santa Monica to visit.

Sullivan’s lifelong passion was reading. He was a member of the Malibu Book Discussion Group that met weekly at the Point Dume Club.

Sullivan was an avid bridge player. He could also be seen taking daily walk on Malibu Road or doing laps at Malibu Bluffs Park.

Survivors include his sons, Barry and Kevin, daughter, Joan Sullivan Shorma, brother, Ed, daughters-in-law, Kathy and Judith, son-in-law, Jerry Shorma and grandchildren, Brian, Sean, Laura Nicole, Diane, Laura Jean, Marie, Julia and Joseph. Sullivan was preceded in death by his wife, Jean Begley Sullivan and his father, John A. Sullivan.

A funeral mass will take place at Our Lady of Malibu Saturday at 11 a.m. An internment service will follow at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.