Alvord, IA: Robert Leonard Sullivan Jr., 93, of Alvord, Iowa, died Thursday, April 13, 2023, at Fellowship Village of Inwood, Iowa. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Friday, April 21, at 10:30 AM, at St. Mary’s Catholic Church of Rock Valley, Iowa. Following a luncheon after the service, burial will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Cemetery of Alvord. Visitation, with the family present, will be held Thursday, April 20, at Porter Funeral Home of Rock Valley from 5:30-7:00 PM with a prayer service to follow at 7:00 PM.
Robert Leonard Sullivan Jr. was born March 15, 1930, to Robert and Mary (Duffy) Sullivan Sr. at the Sullivan Family Farm near Alvord, Iowa, where he lived for the greater part of his life. Bob graduated from Alvord High School in 1948 and worked various jobs, including electrician’s assistant, packhouse worker, road paver, trucker, and livestock feed salesman. Bob began farming with his father in 1950.
On April 22, 1952, Bob was united in marriage with the love of his life, Phyllis Frembgen at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Rock Valley, Iowa. He entered the United States Army one month later where he served in the Tank Company of the 351st Infantry Regiment in the Free Territory of Trieste, Italy. While in the service, Bob visited many countries, including French Morocco, Greece, Turkey (both European and Asian), Italy, Yugoslavia, Austria, and Germany. A highlight of his European stay was a furlough to Rome where he got to see Pope Pius XII. After his service in the Army, Bob returned home to Phyllis and resumed farming with his father until his father’s death in 1969. Bob then assumed the entire farming operation until his retirement in 1992.
Bob served as a township trustee for 26 years. He also worked for the US Postal Service for 25 years. He was a longtime member of the American Legion, Alvord Gun Club, National Association of Retired Federal Employees, 4th degree member of the Knights of Columbus, and was a lifetime member of Sacred Heart Catholic Parish of Alvord until it closed in 2010 and he became a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Parish of Rock Valley. Bob was also a blood donor of 10-plus gallons.
Bob was proud of his Irish heritage. He enjoyed metal and woodworking and built many clocks which he gave away as wedding presents. He built some of his own farm equipment and also liked to write poetry, gardening, and fishing. In the year 2000, he and Phyllis traveled to Des Moines, Iowa where they received a Century Farm award. Bob and Phyllis did extensive traveling, where they visited all 50 states, most of the Canadian provinces, Mexico, England, Ireland, and various Caribbean islands.
Bob loved to tell stories and jokes. He got great satisfaction from making people smile. His favorite adage was “When you were born, you were crying and everyone else was smiling. Try to live your life so that when you die, you will be the one who is smiling and everyone else is crying.”
Bob is survived by 2 children, Thomas (Kimberley) Sullivan of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, and Susan (David) Berg of Vermillion, South Dakota; daughter-in-law, Ann Sullivan of White Bear Lake, Minnesota; 8 grandchildren; 6 great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Mary; wife, Phyllis; daughter, Laura Berg; two sons, John Sullivan and James Sullivan; two sisters, Rita and Ellen; and one brother, Joseph.