Remembering Ernie Sullivan
Ernest George Sullivan, professor emeritus of music, died Oct. 17, 2005, at his home in Brutus, Mich.
Sullivan, 92, was a professor of music at Alma College from 1953 to 1979. He was the conductor of the Alma College A Cappella Choir, taught voice lessons and music classes, and was the chair of the Music Department.
During Sullivan’s tenure, the A Cappella Choir developed a strong reputation for musical excellence through the Choir’s many concert tours and radio broadcasts. Two generations of Alma students sang, studied and traveled with “Uncle Ernie,” and they cherish their memories of singing with him.
Before Alma, Sullivan organized and directed the chorus of employees of the Chicago Merchandise Mart. Earning his Ph.D. from Indiana University while directing the Alma College Choir, he proudly toured the United States, went overseas on a USO tour to Europe, and later directed the Alma College Choir as it toured Romania, Poland and Russia.
After retirement from Alma College, Sullivan began a second career as the Dean of Music at the Bay View Music Festival and Summer Conservatory of Music in northern Michigan. He developed a music program that employed 25 professional musicians as performers and teachers for a student body drawn from the finest music schools in the United States.
Sullivan began his career as a tenor soloist. He immigrated to the United States and entered the U.S. Army in August of 1942 and became a U.S. citizen while serving. At the rank of 1st Lieutenant, he was severely wounded in battle, received a Purple Heart and was discharged from the Army in 1945. Because of his injuries, he changed his career to music director.
On June 14, 1947, he married his wife of 58 years, Gwendolyn Moreen, in Chicago. He was a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Harbor Springs, the National Association of Teachers of Singing and enjoyed golf, skiing and gardening.
He is survived by his wife, Gwen; three children, Clare (Perry Nelson) Sullivan of Lake Bluff, Ill.; Ann Sullivan of Brooklyn, N.Y.; and Kirk (Amy) Sullivan of Vienna, Va.; three grandchildren, Maureen, Kyle and Colin Sullivan; niece, Margaret (the Rev. Chris) Miller, of Toronto; nephew, Harold (Barbara) Lane, of Toronto; cousin, Marge Griffin, of Toronto; sister-in-law, Phyllis Kapp, of Rockford, Mich.; sister-in-law, Emma Lane, of Toronto; a brother-in-law, Kenneth Moreen, of Lombard, Ill.; and many other loving cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents and two sisters, Emma Austin and Clara Lane.
The family requests memorial donations be made to the Ernest G. Sullivan Vocal Music Endowed Scholarship at Alma College.