Obituary of Sheila Marie Sullivan

September 13, 2023

Sheila Marie Sullivan, MD
January 29, 1970 – September 13, 2023

Sheila Marie Sullivan, MD, died on September 13, 2023 in Barnegat Light, NJ from ovarian cancer. Born January 29th, 1970 in Hackensack, NJ, Sheila grew up in Ridgewood, NJ. She attended Willard Elementary School, George Washington Junior High School, and graduated from Ridgewood High School in 1988. She received her Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Ohio University in 1992 and earned her Doctor of Medicine from the Royal College of Surgeons in Dublin, Ireland in 2007. Sheila ultimately settled in the city she loved for its warm people and its charming character, Boston, MA.

Sheila’s creativity and artistic flair were ever-present. As a child, she assumed the stage name, Sandy Harbor, and recorded cassette-tape talk shows, interviewing imaginary celebrities from all walks of life. Her stage career included the starring role in the Willard Elementary School production “The Day the White House Turned Pink,” in which she played the first woman President of the United States. She drew, she cooked, she created. Through her meditation (and “bed-itation” and “beach-itation”), she found inner peace. She had a wonderful eye for color and an insistence on the highest-quality materials, both of which can be seen in her many beautiful knitted projects; if you are lucky enough to have one of her creations, the item is certainly priceless.

Sheila travelled extensively, both inside and outside the US, with her friends and family. She taught us to see the beauty in other cultures and brought home their treasures for us: French food, Moroccan spices, Italian wine and the pure joy of lemons! Guinness on tap was the only beer she would consider. She was a true Francophile who took many trips to France and Quebec to experience French culture and practice their language; her iPhone language is set to French.

Sheila was a kind and generous soul, committed to contributing to the global community. Following her graduation from college, she became a Peace Corps Volunteer in Morocco teaching English to medical school students (medical equipment instructions at that time were printed only in English) and tutoring blind students. After her residency at St. Vincent’s Hospital in New York City, she became a doctor for the Veterans Administration. Dr. Sullivan truly valued providing medical care to those who have served our country. It was of the utmost importance to her that others might in some way benefit from her illness; she and our family are infinitely grateful to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute for including her in a clinical trial.

Our family is profoundly saddened by the far-too-early loss of Sheila. She was a devoted daughter, an unfailingly loyal sister and sister-in-law, and an always-there-for-your-important-moments aunt. Sheila is predeceased by her father Peter and her sister Marie. She is survived by her mother Marie Wagner (Bob Wagner), her father’s partner Anne Gordon, her sisters Eileen Sullivan and Moira Sullivan (Steve Cooney), and her nephew and niece Matthew Sullivan Cooney and Catherine Sullivan Cooney.

In lieu of flowers, and in support of one day finding screening tests and more effective treatments for ovarian cancer, our family asks you to consider donating to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Sheila’s name or the Ovarian Cancer Research Alliance, via Catherine’s NYC marathon charity: .

Funeral Services


September 21, 2023

5:30 PM to 8:00 PM

Crestwood Funeral Home

445 W. 43rd Street

New York, NY 10036

Get Directions

Funeral Service

September 22, 2023

9:00 AM to 10:30 AM

Crestwood Funeral Home

445 W. 43rd Street

New York, NY 10036

Get Directions

Funeral Mass

September 22, 2023

11:30 AM

Holy Trinity Church

213 W. 82nd Street

New York, NY 10024

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I first met Dr. Sullivan at the VA Clinic in Lynn, MA. Then, I proceeded to follow Dr. Sullivan to the Jamaica Plain VA. I loved working with her, along with the other nurses and staff at the clinic. At lunchtime, she would always sit with us and tell us stories about her time traveling and her plans to spend the weekend in New York City to see her sister. I always laugh when I think back to how Dr. Sullivan always ordered a fried eggplant parmesan sub every Friday for lunch but then got upset because she couldn't have cheese, and vegan cheese just didn't cut it for her. I left the Jamaica Plan VA shortly after, but Dr. Sullivan would always send me a message every now and again, checking in to see how I was doing. She was always so sweet and kind to staff and patients. May loving memories ease your loss and bring you comfort. I'm so sorry for your loss.

Posted by: Yen Duong - Boston, MA - Coworker September 18, 2023

My sincerest condolences to the Sullivan family. Dr. Sullivan was wonderful to work with, a true professional, a caring provider, and a generous co-worker. I remember hearing her heels in the clinic hallways, which let me know which direction she was traveling ... sometimes very quick clicks meaning Dr. Sullivan was doing something urgent. It was my pleasure and great honor to work with her. May she rest peacefully.

Posted by: Tai Antoine - Newton, MA - Coworker September 18, 2023

Sheila was an absolute lady in college. Always kind to patients and classmates. I'm so upset to hear about her battle and her death. Many of her old classmates remember her very very fondly

Posted by: Karen Boland - Dublin 6, Ireland - Friend September 19, 2023

My condolences to the family. Dr Sullivan was such a sweet soul and I always enjoyed working with her as needed. I didn't work directly in her department, but whenever we would see each other she would always stop to say hello. Rest in heavenly peace Dr Sullivan.

Posted by: Konnie Johnson - Boston, Massachusetts - Coworker September 21, 2023

I had the pleasure of getting to know Sheila during her time working as a physician at the Bronx VA. She had a lovely heart and was the most kind and devoted physician to her patients. She created happiness all around her and was a delight as a coworker. We will all miss her.

Posted by: Rachel Sherman - Bronx , NY - Friend December 7, 2023

I knew Sheila while serving with her in the Peace Corps in Morocco. She was a beautiful soul, I am so sorry to hear of her passing.

Posted by: Brian Buehler - Okemos, Michigan - Friend April 12, 2024