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The town of Medfield is grieving the loss of former Town Administrator Michael Sullivan.
“Michael Sullivan passed away [on Wednesday, February 27] around 6:00 p.m., at Charlton Memorial Hospital, in Fall River, surrounded by his family,” wrote Medfield Selectman Osler “Pete” Peterson, breaking the news on his blog. “Mike had been found unconscious in his Fall River home yesterday, and had been listed by the hospital as being in critical condition for the past day.”
Sullivan had recently retired as town administrator after 44 years, a tenure that saw the town continue to steadily grow and modernize under his watch.
"For 44 years, Mike Sullivan was the face you saw at town hall, at town meeting and throughout Medfield - and the reason many have a positive view of Medfield’s local government,” commented former Medfield Selectman and Town Historian Richard DeSorgher. “He just, plain and simple, worked well with people. Large or small, over the years, he dropped what he [was] working on to offer help and assistance to issues arising with the public. He was positive and he had an amazing track record of finding solutions.”
“Your typical day is you come in with plans to do certain things and get them off your desk, and you go home at the end of the day and you haven’t done one of them,” joked Sullivan in a November interview with Hometown Weekly’s Robby McKittrick. “You just never know what people are going to be calling in about, what issues are going to come up.”
Sullivan developed a warm, close relationship with the Medfield community over his years as town administrator. Once asked by Hometown Weekly what made the town so special, he immediately responded: “The people. The people are very concerned. They take care of each other, they look out for each other. They are very involved. I think that’s really what makes Medfield. Everybody thinks it’s the schools, or the open space. I think it’s the people.”
“No one knew more people in Medfield, nor more of the facts about and the history of the town during the many decades of his tenure,” wrote Selectman Peterson. “A huge part of our town’s history has ended with Mike’s death.”
“He made Medfield his hometown, eating at Lords and the local restaurants, working Medfield Day, attending Memorial Day ceremonies, the tree lighting, you name it - he was Medfield 100 percent,” added DeSorgher. “He guided Medfield carefully through hard times and good times; he truly had Medfield’s best interests at heart. I got to know Mike from when he first came to Medfield in 1975 and served with him as a selectman, seeing him keeping abreast of issues, staying at town hall long after all had gone home and long after darkness set in. He was a true public servant with the public’s interest always at heart.
“I will miss him greatly and Medfield will miss him greatly.”