Eleanor Sullivan

Eleanor M. Sullivan

Thursday, September 3rd, 1931 - Monday, June 7th, 2021
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Eleanor Mae (Erwin) Sullivan, 89, of St. Joseph, formerly of Benton Harbor, left this world June 7, 2021 surrounded by family members. Each will remember that her love of family and loyalty to friends were the only two characteristics that exceeded her sharp wit. Perhaps it was the mathematical gymnastics she learned as a bookkeeper that allowed her to have 50 consecutive 39th birthday parties.

Eleanor was born September 3, 1931 to Bessie and Frank Erwin of Benton Harbor, where she lived for 60 years. She attended Benton Harbor Schools and began her family with her husband, Billy Dean Sullivan, in 1949 with the birth of their first child.

Eleanor had a 27 year career and retired from Woodhams Ford in South Haven. Even though Eleanor’s work ethic was surpassed by none, her career did not reflect her passion. She devoted her life to caring for family with her career earnings and with every moment she had to spare. Eleanor considered the achievements of her children and grandchildren as her own. Eleanor’s devotion to her family was her main hobby!

You never had to guess what Eleanor was thinking, she would let you know right after she was done scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees and working her fingers to the bone. A tease from Eleanor was always a stamp of approval.

Eleanor is survived by her children Bill (Sandy) and daughter Kathy (Bill) Swanson. She is the grandmother to: Scott (Kristin) Sullivan, Sean (Janet) Sullivan, Chad (Trish) Swanson, Brad (Ann) Swanson, Brooke Swanson (Kevin Deja); and great grandmother to Allysun (Matt Sila) Sullivan, Katie Sullivan, Erin Sullivan, Connor Sullivan, and Max Jung. Many found a family in Eleanor, as she accepted some very special friends as part of her family (the family of Trisha Hayes, Marilyn DiMaggio, the Hills, and the Duthies).
Eleanor is preceded in death by her siblings Phyllis Erwin, Don Erwin, Shirley Vaughn, Bob Erwin, and Walter Erwin.

A gathering will be held Thursday, June 10 from 4-6 at Starks & Menchinger Chapel where the family will be accepting condolences. Sharing of Eleanor’s life is immediately following at Starks at 6:00. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or The Humane Society of Southwest Michigan. Those wishing to sign Eleanor’s Memory Book online may do so at
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Service Details

  • Visitation

    Thursday, June 10th, 2021 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Thursday, June 10th, 2021 4:00pm - 6:00pm
    Starks & Menchinger Chapel
    2650 Niles Rd.
    St. Joseph, MI 49085
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
  • Service

    Thursday, June 10th, 2021 | 6:00pm
    Thursday, June 10th, 2021 6:00pm
    Starks & Menchinger Chapel
    2650 Niles Rd.
    St. Joseph, MI 49085
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    A Time of Sharing Memories of Eleanor's life will conclude the visitation time at 6:00 P.M. Memorial donations in Eleanor's memory may be made to The Humane Society of Southwest Michigan or St. Jude Children's Hospital.
  • Interment

    North Shore Memory Gardens
    5027 M-63 North
    Coloma, MI 49038
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Private burial will take place at North Shore Memory Gardens in Coloma


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Private Condolence

Mary McAllister

Posted at 04:27pm
RIP Elenor! You will always be loved, never forgotten and always remembered!

Barb Ashley

Posted at 11:05am
Bill, Sandy and Family,

I will be keeping you in my prayers at this difficult time. May she Rest In Peace.


Marilyn Richter

Posted at 10:15am
Eleanor was a dear friend and a truthful person. You always knew where you stood with her. She was witty and funny. OMG I learned how to clean from her. Lol
She always wiping down
She was a beautiful woman, strong and smart.
I respected and loved her.
It won’t be the same without Eleanor.
Marilyn Richter

t Posted at 01:27pm

I wish I could be with you to celebrate Elenor's life. She was a giving and truthful person who didn't mince words. She always told the truth! I respected her. She loved her family with all her heart. She was a good person. That says it all. She Comfort

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