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Sylvia Edmonia Sullivan

October 23, 1939 October 3, 2008
Sylvia Edmonia Sullivan
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Obituary for Sylvia Edmonia Sullivan

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Sylvia E. Sullivan was born on October 23, 1939 in Owings, Maryland to the late James and Queenie Riggs. She was the fourth born into a family of five children. Sylvia received her education in the public schools in Owings and graduated from Brooks High School. She furthered her education and earned a BA at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore (UMES) in Princes Anne, Maryland. While attending UMES she met Sidney E. Sullivan. They were married on August 3, 1962, and from this union three children were born. They were happily married for 20 years when Sidney succumbed to complications from his illness, subsequently falling asleep in death. Sylvia truly fulfilled the role of matriarch becoming both mother and father to her children and actively participating in all aspects of their lives.Following the death of her husband, Sylvia became politically active. She was the first black women elected to the Democratic Central Committee (DCC) in Calvert County serving two terms during which she also served as treasurer. When she decided to leave the DCC she was asked to serve on the Maryland Liquor Board which she accepted and served several years before resigning to an alternate position.In 1959 Sylvia received her first teaching assignment at a High School in New Jersey. During this time it was not common for blacks to receive teaching assignments in New Jersey Public Schools. Upon her arrival the faculty was surprised to learn that she was black and wanted her to be removed. Due to the current discrimination laws the school was forced to keep her on staff. Thus she became the first black teacher in this New Jersey Public School. Much to her credit she won over the admiration and respect of her colleagues. Sylvia held various teaching positions throughout her career finishing up with the Calvert County Board of Education. There she worked as a home tutor with children out of school due to illness or disciplinary issues. She also worked at Calvert High School in a special program called Marylands Tomorrow helping at risk students to ensure they completed their education. She retired from this prestigious career in 2000. Her retirement didnt last long because her desire to stay active and need to interact with people (and love of jewelry) led her to part-time work at Zales Jewelry Store in Annapolis, MD. Due to her organizational skills and work ethic, this part-time position turned into a full-time position as the Office Manager. In October 2007, she once again made a career move working for the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection. She worked in the Office of International Affairs where she thoroughly enjoyed her job and her co-workers. During her illness she was hospitalized many times and she was always motivated to get well so she could return to work.Sylvias children were her world and she was extremely proud of them all. She treasured time spent with each of them and they had a special place in her heart. As her illness progressed she was concerned with how they would handle her loss and on separate occasions she let each of them know how much she loved them and reminded them of special times they spent together. She told them to be strong, be happy, and to live their lives in a manner that would continue to make her proud.Sylvia departed this life on October 3, 2008, as she wished in the comfort of her home surrounded by her children and close family members. She was preceded in death by her husband. She leaves behind to cherish her memory, her sons, Stephen (Joanne), Sean (Edna); a daughter, Stacey Marshall (Howard); two grandsons, Andrew and Kaelan; four granddaughters, Stephanie, Sydnee, Bobbi, and Alex; two brothers, Lowell (Regina) and Charles (Yvonne); two Sisters, Julia (Alvin) and Phyllis (Carroll); nieces, nephews and friends. She will be greatly missed


Cemetery:

Calvary Cemetery, Shelbyville, Kentucky on Saturday, October 11, 2008

Visitation:

2:00 P.M. to 5:00 P.M. at Sewell Funeral Home 1451 Dares Beach Road Prince Frederick, MD 20678 on Thursday October 9, 2008 (map/driving directions)

Service:

5:00 P.M. at Sewell Funeral Home 1451 Dares Beach Road Prince Frederick, MD 20678 on Thursday, October 9, 2008 (map/driving directions)

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