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John Sullivan, 61

For John Sullivan, a perfect evening found him sitting outside on the patio he built, enjoying pizza and a cold Hamm’s with family and friends, swapping stories, and showing off his abundant garden handiwork.
John, 61, of Woodstock, a teacher, gardener, and lover of the outdoors, died July 15. He was born in Chicago to John Sullivan and Mary Ann Conrad Sullivan and grew up in a close-knit family of five sisters and one brother in Glenview. He graduated from the University of Illinois in 1984 and began his teaching career in the north suburbs. He taught social studies and coached track and soccer at Glenbrook South High School – his own alma mater – for 33 years, and made an impact in the lives of all his students, players, and co-workers, many of whom he stayed connected with through a regular schedule of postcard-writing.

He was also tireless in his work for his community. He volunteered countless hours for the McHenry County Conservation District and for the Family Health Partnership Clinic (although for that last one he was more of a draftee than a volunteer). In his spare time, he headed outside; besides his family, his most prized possessions were his bike and his kayak, both of which he used as frequently as he could up until the very end. He was a lover of nature and all creatures great and small.
He never forgot a birthday and would send your horoscope to prove it. He was selfless to a fault. He would insert himself into situations to lend a hand, whether it was wanted or not, then argue with you about how you actually did need help. It was best to give in and allow it. Most importantly though, he was a kind, funny, and loving husband, father, brother, and friend.
He is survived by his wife, Suzanne Hoban; his children John (fiancée, Maggie Gomberg), James, and Clara; his sisters, Mary Hart (Chuck), Margaret Sullivan, Maureen Stephens (Dennis), Terese Sullivan, and Marilou Sullivan; his brother, George Patrick (Lisa); and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins, in-laws, and treasured neighbors and friends.
Mr. Sullivan, Johnny, Big John, Sully, husband, dad, brother, uncle, role model. He represented the best of all of us and will be deeply missed by all who knew him.
A celebration of Sully’s life will be held Friday, July 28, from 4 to 8 p.m. at Goebbert’s Farm, 42W813 Reinking Road, Pingree Grove. Remembrances will begin at 7 p.m. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to the Family Health Partnership Clinic ( or McHenry County Conservation Foundation (
For further information, please contact the funeral home at 847-515-8772, or on line condolences may be directed to

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