ONEONTA – Robert Steven “Steve” O’Sullivan, 76, a Marine and mason, passed away Nov. 3, 2013, at Bassett Hospital, due to complications from a head injury after a fall; his family was by his side. He is no longer in pain and is at peace.
He was born Oct. 17, 1941 in The Bronx, the son of the late Virginia (Tansy) and Robert William O’Sullivan. Steve was raised by his grandparents in Windham after his mother lost her life when he was 2. As a teenager, he moved to Stamford, and lived with his Aunt Laura and Uncle Holger Eklund while his father continued to work for the New York Telephone Company in the city.
It was in Stamford that he met his sweetheart, Phyllis Brooks. They were the prom king and queen and had been together ever since.
The Marine Corps gained a first-class: Steve received the Athletic Iron Man trophy for overall athleticism. He also qualified as high-expert rifleman in advanced infantry training, won the title championship for the Marine Corps middle-weight boxing team and helped the Marines win the division in the finals against the Navy at that time.
He was promoted to sergeant in three years, which is exceptional, while still managing to drive 12 hours home to Stamford to see his sweetheart on the weekends. During his stay with the 8th Marines, he went on a Mediterranean cruise and stayed at sea for a total of 67 days off the coast of Cyprus.
Steve was a squad leader and continued to be successful in the Marine Corps. In Newfoundland, he provided security and service to the carriers going to the mainland. His battalion was part of the first group into Cuba during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He then returned to Camp Lejeune and finished out his career.
One of his most memorable moments in the Marines was the demonstration landing for President Kennedy. He was in the open boat fleet for that mission which is now called The Answer. Steve continued to like his hair cut high and tight and it was never quite right.
After the Marine Corps, he became a mason and belonged to the Bricklayers & Allied Craft workers of Local #3. He was also a self-employed contractor, building many beautiful homes and commercial structures including Worcester firehouse, and buildings on the SUNY Oneonta, Hartwick and Bassett campuses.
He had a passion for hunting and shooting, participating in a 500-yard shoot every year, coming home with numerous awards. He also enjoyed shooting clay pigeons at the Milford Rod & Gun Club. He hunted locally, in Stamford with father-in-law Griff Brooks, Roses BrookS with friend Leon Johns; Middlefield with brother-in-law John Brooks, and with many friends at North Creek Hunting Club.
Steve had been out West with family and friends to Idaho and Wyoming, and made multiple trips to Alaska with his cousin Neil “Bud” Eklund, the most memorable being a 120-mile rafting trip down the Yukon River.
He was a skilled still hunter and passed on the sportsmanship to his children and grandchildren.
Steve embraced his Irish traditions, sitting around the kitchen table telling stories over corned beef and cabbage with his family and friends.
Over the last few years, Steve took pleasure in going to the family camp in the Town of Ohio, Herkimer County, with his family to celebrate New Year’s Eve, looking for deer and checking his apple trees.
Steve is survived by his wife, Phyllis (Brooks) O’Sullivan; their three children, Kelly (O’Sullivan) Holliday and son-in-law Lance Holliday of Milford, daughter Colleen O’Sullivan of Charlotte, N.C., and son Steven Brook O’Sullivan of Otego, as well as two grandchildren, Lizette and Keenan Holliday.
He will be missed greatly by his Marine Corps buddies, Leon Johns, Denny Stead, Ken Kennedy and Ed Bracey. Also, his longtime friends Tom Pederson, Ron Beers and Dwight Packard (Packy). He is survived by his extended family: Becky Myers (Rich), John Brooks (Joan), Sharon Dawson (Wally); nieces and nephews Kim Marble (Dean), Griffin Gillette (Dawn), Brian Gillette (Sue), Ryan Brooks (Beth), Jennifer Dawson and Stacy Chisum (John), several great nieces and nephews; cousins Cathy Eklund Lynch (George), Neil Eklund and son Lauro, and Lisa Eklund.
His favorite quotes included, “The task shead of you is never as great as the Power behind you”, “never take a day of your life for-granted”, and “Semper Fidelis.”
Calling hours are 1-2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 19, at the Oneonta Veteran’s Club, 279 Chestnut St. A small service will follow at 2 p.m., with the Rev. Stephen Fournier officiating. A celebration of Steve’s life will follow.
In lieu of flowers memorial donations may be made to either the Disabled American Veterans, Chapter 200, P.O. Box 165, Oneonta NY 13820; Friends of Bassett, 1 Atwell Road, Cooperstown, NY 13326, designated towards trauma, injury prevention and outreach program; or to the Milford Fish & Game Club, c/o Elaine Bliss, 354 Upper Dutch Hill Road, Oneonta NY 13820 in loving memory of Robert “Steve” O’Sullivan.
To light a candle or send the family an online condolence please visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta.
The family would like to send a special thank you to Dr. DuNguyen and all the nurses in ICU for their compassion.