Remembering Sully, Rob Sullivan

Rob Sullivan

We all struggle with our demons; the good in us, the bad, the difficult. Sometimes we win and carry on. And sometimes we check out far sooner than the potential allows. OIB friend Rob Sullivan struggled mightily and openly with his demons, rehab for long stretches at a time, resuming an on-and-off writing life to capture an assortment of personalities in the state’s largest city the past couple of decades. To those who knew him all you had to say was “Sully.” We knew what that meant. Sully and his gregarious smile. He passed away on Saturday, according to this obituary from his hometown newspaper. He was 54. A cause of death was not included in the obituary.

Rob Sullivan was a regular reader of OIB, occasionally chiming in on the OIB comments section over an assortment of issues. He was always among the first to recognize the best in the passing of a person such as this comment December 12, 2014 following the death of former journalist John Gilmore, a contributor to OIB.

I am shocked and saddened by the death of John Gilmore. He helped me in every phase of my career up to and including my recent literary aspirations. I will just tell one story. I was editor of the Bridgeport News for a short time and he called and said he wanted to meet. Basically, he wanted to kick my ass. He felt I was too deferential to the powers that be and too talented to be writing a bunch of feel-good stories. He was a good friend and a great writer. I loved the fact he wrote his novel and he did tell me he was writing another. I hope he completed that book. It would be a great and fitting legacy for this man. My sincere condolences to all on this tragic news.

Sully enjoyed writing about the underbelly of the city including in his book Political Corruption In Bridgeport. He could be generous with compliments and he could be a tough critic. But often he was toughest on himself. “I am an addict,” he’d say when asked about his struggles, a nod of recognition to friends who’d help him. And he’d check in to provide updates on his state of health. Sully who lived in several city neighborhoods including Black Rock and North End used public transportation to attend city functions, a laptop under his arm, a coffee shop Wi-Fi to connect to his readers at the Bridgeport Banner on-line news site.

Sully loved being a Bridgeport reporter.

From Sully’s obituary:

He was born in Worcester son of the late John and Marilyn (Johnson) Sullivan. He leaves two sisters, June Eressy and her husband Michael and Nancy Buniowski, both of Worcester; also survived by five nieces, two nephews; and his dear friends Geri and John Whitlock of Fairfield, CT. He was predeceased by a brother, Jack Sullivan and his brother-in-law Steven Buniowski.

Rob was a graduate of Saint John’s High School and Fairfield University. He worked as a journalist for many years and served as the editor of the Bridgeport Banner. His book Political Corruption in Bridgeport was published in 2014.

Rob loved politics and was an avid fan of all Boston sports teams. Above all, he was a man of great faith and was a devout Catholic.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend a funeral Mass celebrating Rob’s life on Friday, June 16, 2017 at 11:00 am at Saint Mary’s Church, 640 Main Street, Shrewsbury. Burial will be private at a later date. To leave a note of condolence for Rob’s family or to view his Book of Memories, please visit



  1. I didnt know him that long, I did however read his book, great writer, good person as well, My Condolences to his family, May he rest in peace.

  2. Rob,
    It’s been a while since I saw you making your way along the sidewalk to your next known destination. I would pull over, clear the front seat, roll down the window and ask “Where are you going?” You would answer me and most of the time I would say, “That’s on the way, hop in!” And you would unburden yourself from such bag and paraphernalia as called for that day and ride “shotgun” until we got “there”.

    In the meantime we could catch up on who, what, where, when, how, but the why was sometimes shaky, something beyond either of our opinions of a day. But it was genuinely fun to speculate with Sully. Might have some laughs or might equally have moments of silence lost in our thoughts of the profound or unknowable.

    Sully knows now…perhaps how he is missed, perhaps how he missed, but no regrets…he kept trying and that counts for something in an unsmiling world where too many have given up hope. When will we next think of him? Time will tell.

  3. A true gentleman that showed flashes of brilliant political insight on the radio and in print… I particularly recall his analysis of the field of mayoral candidates as guest host (for Citizen Smith) on WICC during Bridgeport Mayoral Election 2003… He gave brilliant, comprehensive analysis and accurately predicted the outcome of that election…

    It is sad that this, decent, brilliant gentleman was derailed by the same scourge of addiction that has cheated the world out of the fulfillment of so much other human promise…

    RIP, Rob.

  4. Very sad news indeed. Way too young. I enjoyed his writing for many years. I have his last book about corruption in Bridgeport. I remember giving him rides and enjoying heavy conversations about Bridgeport. I hope there s a heaven and he is at peace. May his memory be a blessing for all those that remember him and condolences to all of his friends and family. I do not think he ever reached his potential as a writer and it is just so sad. May he rest forever in peace.

  5. I remain proud to call Rob Sullivan a friend. I called him many things during the course of our relationship, including not a few explitives. I was fond of calling him Bridgeport’s Bukowski, which I thought captured both his continuing troubles and boundless talent. I remember him laughing about the nickname over beers at Matty’s.

    Rob was, in many ways, a writer’s writer. He was good for a timely quip or a long-form magazine piece. I first knew Rob as a local sports editor. I later knew him as a local political wonk, playwrite and freelance journalist.

    His death leaves many lives emptier. His absence will be felt.

  6. Sorry to learn of Rob Sullivan’s death. I only met him a few times when there were 7 candidates for Mayor of BPT and Charles Coviello was one of the candidates.

  7. Rob Sullivan was a denizen of Bridgeport in general and Black Rock in particular. His family is laying him to rest in the Worcester area (“Woostah” to New Englanders from eastern Massachusetts).

    As far as I know there are no memorial services scheduled in Black Rock. I’d like to organize a little wake, a party, a small intimate event that would provide a venue for his local friends to reminisce, swap stories, celebrate Rob Sullivan’s life. Let me know your thoughts.

    1. That would be great kid, let me know if how I can help? 203-895-8424
      I Just came back from Rob’s funeral Mass at his hometown Church St. Mary’s.
      Where Rob was  Baptized made his first Communion and Confirmation.
      I met Rob’s family they gave him a wonderful tribute.
      I’ll miss that old quarter Horse.


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