Mark William Sullivan

September 10, 1957 — February 8, 2024


Mark William Sullivan left his quiet world on February 8, 2024.  He was born in Sparta Wisconsin on September 10, 1957, the fourth child of Don and Toni (Belle Mae Doane) Sullivan.   

It did not take long for his mother to realize that her perfect baby boy was hearing impaired.  Toni was the daughter of deaf parents and grew up in that world as a hearing child. There is a genetic predisposition for deafness in the family that has carried on for several generations. Mark was blessed with all the love, sacrifices, and advocacy needed to grow and successfully meet the demands of a hearing world. 

He donned his first hearing aids at the age of two and started school at the age of three in 1960. He attended Washburn School in La Crosse, WI until graduating from eighth grade.  The trips to and from school were in the back seat of the family car in the days before the Interstate went through to La Crosse.  Mother made this trip twice a day for several years before sharing the commute daily with another mother of a deaf child.   At this time, the grade school philosophy for deaf education was steeped in developing oral communication and lip-reading skills.  It was not until he graduated from Washburn and was enrolled in High School at Wisconsin School for the Deaf in Delavan WI that he learned and incorporated American Sign Language (ASL).

ASL opened the world of total communication and enhanced his education.

It was a heartfelt transition for Don and Toni to send their youngest to school where he would have to be boarded during the week.  It meant bringing him home every weekend and returning him on Sunday night…and so, they did.  They were accustomed to daily commutes and having him home in the nest every night when he attended Washburn. 

As time went on, he made many lifelong friends from all over that he maintained and cherished.  Mark was the program manager of the WSD Wrestling program and lettered in that activity.   He proudly graduated from WSD in 1976.

After graduation, Mark attended a technical college in Minneapolis before transferring to Golden West in Huntington Beach, California.  He was easily wooed away from Wisconsin winters to California.  He deeply enjoyed the climate, and all the prospects that California had to offer.  He made many new friendships, and for years spent thousands of hours hiking the beaches and held a pass to many California parks enjoying their great outdoors and aquatic wildlife.

In October of 1982, Mark began a career with the United States Postal Service in Huntington Beach, CA.  He would hold that position and several other locations created by expanding services of the USPS.  He retired in 2020 with credit for 39 years of service….as a faithful and valued employee. 


Over the last 25 years, Mark became a passionate member of the California Association of the Deaf and was involved at many levels.  He firmly believed in the mission of their work to “Preserve, Protect and Promote Human, Linguistic, and Civil Rights for all Deaf Californians”.  He was also a member of the Orange County Association of the Deaf.

Mark leaves behind a wonderful group of friends, co-workers, and neighbors.  He also leaves his sister, Pat Wall, brothers Tim Sullivan, Mike and his wife, Gail Sullivan, Joan Sullivan, Aunt Joannie Sullivan, and a host of nieces and nephews and their children, along with dear cousins.  Mark was preceded in death by his mother and father, Don and Toni Sullivan, his paternal and maternal grandparents, Bill and Della Sullivan, and Ralph and Mabel Doane, a nephew, Mark Wall, and brother-in-law, Karl Wall, as well as paternal and maternal aunts and uncles.

Since our family is now witnessing the fourth generation of alumni at WSD, we feel Mark would deeply appreciate any Memorials be given in his honor to Wisconsin School for the Deaf at Delavan, WI. 

There will be a Celebration of Mark’s life on June 15, 2024, from 1p.m. until 4 p.m. (1-2 pm Chapel service, 2-4 pm Reception) at Heritage-Dilday Memorial Services, 17911 Beach Blvd, Huntington Beach, CA.

We will bring him home and celebrate his life at Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home with a visitation on the evening of June 28th 5-7 pm, and a final Celebration of Life on Saturday, June 29th at 10 am.

Online condolences may be offered at

Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation, Sparta, is assisting the family with arrangements.


Lanham-Schanhofer Funeral Home and Cremation