Armstrong pays tribute to O’Sullivan

A celebration of life has been set for Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Armstrong Curling Club.

Everyone knew him simply as Sully.

Ron O’Sullivan, long-time Armstrong councillor, died suddenly at his home Friday. He had celebrated his 79th birthday May 18.

A celebration of life has been set for Saturday at 1 p.m. at the Armstrong Curling Club.

“Sully was very involved in the whole community,” said Mayor Chris Pieper.

“He worked hard at everything. He was a man of few words but a lot of action.”

O’Sullivan arrived in Armstrong 19 years ago, moving from his longtime home in Richmond with his wife, Barb, to be closer to Barb’s daughter. He enjoyed a lengthy career as a truck driver and was well-known for his athletic prowess.

O’Sullivan played baseball and fastpitch softball – a cairn was erected at a baseball park in Steveston to honour O’Sullivan when he was moving to the North Okanagan – and also played lacrosse with the famed New Westminster Salmonbellies and Vancouver Burrards.

After just two years of North Okanagan living, O’Sullivan decided to enter the world of municipal politics. He was first elected to council in 1999 and was serving his sixth consecutive term when he died.

Shirley Fowler has been sitting in the seat next to O’Sullivan for the past 12 years on council.

“I will miss his sense of humour, and the way we continually  teased each other, bantering back and forth,” said Fowler.

“He would start most greetings with ‘And Flowerpot, how the hell are you doing today?’ If you were sick, Sully would call or text to ask if you were feeling better yet? If he were here today, he would be calling to offer his support, knowing we are grieving.”

Linda Werner was elected to her first term on council in November 2014, and, like Fowler before them, O’Sullivan took her and fellow newbies Stephen Drapala and Lance McGregor under his wing.

“He was such a great mentor,” said Werner.

“He was a great leader in his own quiet way. You could ask him anything and he didn’t think it was ever a stupid question. Barb and Sully were so good to me when I was newly elected.”

O’Sullivan spent the last three years as president of the Armstrong Curling Club.

He had been down at the club the morning of his death overseeing some ongoing renovations and checking out a garage sale to benefit the Haugen Healthcare Society.

“Sully was very solid,” said Steve Gunner, curling club manager, whose kids were coached by O’Sullivan more than a decade ago.

“He looked after the basics (of the club) very well. He was always on task and clear in his thinking.”

The city will hold a byelection in the fall to fill the vacancy.


Vernon Morning Star