Michael Patrick Sullivan 1947 - 2024

Michael Patrick Sullivan passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his children, on March 2, 2024. The fourth of five children, Mike was born February 2, 1947, in Chicago, Illinois, to Roger Sullivan and Patricia Dunphy.

Growing up on the south side of Chicago, Mike found his first love in the game of football as a starting offensive lineman for the city champions, Mendel Catholic High School. Right out of high school, he found a greater passion in coaching football, leading St. Felicitas Elementary School to citywide recognition.

Mike served on an aircraft carrier in the Navy during the Vietnam War. He told tales of his time in the service for the rest of his life, and started most stories by recounting exactly how many years, months, weeks, days, minutes, and seconds he had served. 

Returning to Chicago in 1971, Mike went to work as a roll-turner at U.S. Steel. He met his future wife, Geraldene Balas, and the two were married in 1975. Responding to an ad for a roll-turner job at Cascade Steel in McMinnville, Oregon, Mike and Gerry relocated and made a home, living in the same house for 38 years. He loved the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest and the Oregon coast. Camping, crabbing, and campfires at Cape Lookout State Park brought Mike joy and will continue to provide fond memories for his children.

Mike served as the president of United Steelworkers of America Local 8378, representing the workers of Cascade Steel. He served on his local’s Labor & Education committee and was a delegate to the 1992 Democratic National Convention and the 1996 founding convention of the Labor Party. He earned his bachelor’s degree in Labor History from the National Labor College in 2000, and, after retiring from Cascade Steel in 2004, he went to work as a lobbyist for the Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers until he retired again in 2021. To honor Mike’s passion for labor history, his family will be donating his hundreds of books on the subject to the Labor Education and Research Center’s library at the University of Oregon.   

Mike was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Carol; his brothers, Roger and Tim; and his wife of 48 years, Gerry, who passed away in October of 2023. He is survived by his children, Chad Sullivan, Kate Shumway, and Kevin Sullivan; his three grandchildren, Aaron Shumway, Henry Sullivan, and Eleanor Sullivan; his sister, Patricia; and many nieces and nephews. 

A celebration of life will occur  at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 25, at the SEIU Local 49 Union Hall: 3536 S.E. 26th Avenue, Portland, OR 97202.  RSVP at https://bit.ly/4cCq51s

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to Healthcare for All Oregon Donate — HCAO - Health Care for All Oregon.


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