In Memory of





Obituary for Brenda M. Sullivan (Murphy)

Brenda Marie (Murphy) Sullivan, age 81, passed away on April 15, after suffering complications of COVID19. She is survived by her husband of fifty-nine years, Paul Timothy Sullivan. Brenda was born in Dorchester on October 7, 1938 to the late John and Alice Murphy. She is predeceased by her siblings, Anne Murphy, Alice Callahan, Nancy Fehrm, and Joseph Murphy. Brenda attended St. Gregory’s High School in Dorchester where she raised just the right amount of trouble and made lifelong friends. She spent her summers first attending Girl Scout Camp as a camper, then working as a counselor, lifeguard, and waterfront director. After high school, Brenda attended the Boston School of Dental Nursing and worked as a dental assistant in Mattapan. Soon after, Brenda met the love of her life, a handsome Boston College student, Paul Timothy Sullivan, also of Dorchester. Together they enjoyed spending time with friends, dancing, going to the beach, and making life together an adventure. Brenda and Paul were married on June 2, 1962 and were blessed with four children that were the center of their universe: Paul M. Sullivan and his wife Lisa Sullivan of Sudbury, Julie Gillis and her husband Joe Gillis of Medfield, Christine Smith and her husband Geoffrey Smith of Holliston, and Carol Svirsky and her husband Michael Svirsky of Holliston. Paul and Brenda spent most of their life in the quiet town of Medfield surrounded by neighborhood friends. In 1979 Brenda survived a brain aneurysm and stroke which left her paralyzed on her left side. This never shook her faith, and Brenda’s right side grew stronger along with her determination to be the best mother and wife to her family.
Brenda was a devoted Catholic heavily involved in religious education and volunteering her time for children’s liturgies at St. Edwards in Medfield. Brenda also enjoyed participating in Scripture groups and continuing her own religious studies at St. Stephen’s Priory in Dover. In Medfield, Brenda’s circle of friends was ever-expanding; she was dependable, loyal, and her humor was infectious. Brenda and Paul spent their later years in Sandwich, MA, exploring the Cape and making friends wherever they went. Throughout her life Brenda enjoyed the beach, shopping, ice cream, and spending time with friends and family. Brenda is survived by her beautiful grandchildren who all share her love of candy and mischief, Eileen Gillis, Claire and Meredith Sullivan, Henry, Peter, and Charlie Smith, and Lucy and Joshua Svirsky. She is also survived by her many beloved nieces and nephews. Services for the family will be private, in the coming days. A Memorial Service/Celebration of Life will be announced when the public gathering restrictions are lifted. She will be missed dearly and remembered lovingly.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Brenda’s name can be made to Cape Cod Healthcare Foundation (CCHF) which funds healthcare initiatives and supports the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA) and Adult Day Care, both of which supported Brenda and Paul during their time on the Cape.
Donate online by visiting:
Mailing Address:
CCHC Foundation
P.O. Box 370
Hyannis, MA 02601