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The UMass Lowell community is deeply saddened to learn of the loss of our friend, alumnus and colleague Paul Sullivan. The Merrimack Valley and Massachusetts as a whole have lost a sparkling personality, keen observer of the public scene and incisive commentator. Paul Sullivan loved people. He loved politics. He loved to laugh. And he loved his family and community most of all. We will miss him enormously.
I have known Paul Sullivan since the seventh grade. He was an extraordinary talent, and kept his incredible sense of humor to the end. He never once complained after he was diagnosed with cancer. In fact, he reached out to others with cancer and helped hundreds of people, including my mother-in-law. He dealt with his illness valiantly and with great dignity.
Paul was a living example of free speech and freedom of the press with his tireless work as a journalist and commentator at the Lowell Sun and on his “Morning Magazine” show on WLLH for many years; on WCVB’s “Five on Five,” where he went chin-to-chin with the area’s sharpest analysts; and most recently on WBZ Radio, where his interviews and conversations with callers reached listeners in more than 30 states.
Paul was an insightful and entertaining host at scores of events. He had become the toastmaster of choice in the Lowell area and at statewide functions. He rubbed shoulders with the high and the mighty, and didn’t mind pulling those same folks off their perches with a witty line. He wasn’t afraid to rile up people or interests who he thought were too assured of having all the answers. But even Paul said recently that he was more likely to pound people with pillows.
In recent years, Paul was the inspiration for the “Sunrise” morning public affairs radio program at WUML-91.5, broadcast at UMass Lowell. He believed we need as many voices as possible discussing the issues and sharing information, whether the topics are deeply local or of global concern.
I extend our deepest sympathy to his wife, Mary Jo Griffin, and children, Ryan, Ashley, and Kerri Sullivan, and Caitlin and Colleen Ferry.