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Leonard Earl Sullivan passed from this life on October 4, 2021. He was born December 12, 1934, to Leonard Fulton and Willie Lee (Stone) Sullivan during the Great Depression. He was born at home, a Katy Railroad section house in Dale, Oklahoma, into a family with three older sisters (Louise, Christine, and Leta Mae) Two brothers died at birth. His younger brother, Darrel, would join the family two years later.
Like the rest of his family, Leonard was a worker. From a young age, he worked to contribute to the family’s survival. One of his earliest jobs was picking blackberries; he would go on to chop cotton and bale hay as a boy and a teen. He worked for the rest of his life, not knowing what he would do with himself if he ever retired.
Leonard graduated from Dale High School where he played baseball and basketball. He then went to Stillwater with the idea of playing basketball for Coach Iba; that plan evolved over time, but Leonard remained determined to graduate from college, and he worked multiple jobs to pay for it: lawn service, delivery driver, tree trimmer, and lots of dirty jobs for Harp’s Green Valley Farms in Shawnee, OK. He traveled to Palo Alto, California to do construction work for several months. Leonard first graduated from Murray State Agricultural College in 1956. While there, he served as the president of the League of Young Democrats, something future political colleagues and opponents would remind him of with glee.
In 1958, Leonard graduated from Oklahoma State University with a business marketing degree, an ROTC commission in the U.S. Army, and a job with Kroger awaiting him. He married his high school sweetheart, Marilyn West, on May 24, 1958 and they embarked on a promising future, little knowing the adventures the next sixty-three years would bring.
Leonard and Marilyn lovingly raised their two daughter, first Diana and later Lee Ann, while Leonard worked to support his family. During the first decade of their marriage, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserve, 45th Infantry Division, while simultaneously forging an interesting career path. After working as a store manager in the grocery business in Arkansas and Tennessee, stops on that path included district sales manager for Scott Paper Company in Oklahoma and Kansas, vice president of development for Taco Boy restaurants in Oklahoma, vice president of sales and marketing for Carousel Fashions in New York City and Los Angeles, and development director for Global Land Corporation in San Antonio. Returning to Oklahoma, Leonard worked for D.J. Blanton selling real estate, then started Leonard E. Sullivan & Co. Commercial & Industrial Real Estate in 1975. During the following decade, he was a Realtor, an appraiser, a real estate developer, a builder, and a property owner/manager.
After his college years, Leonard became interested in conservative politics. In 1985, a group of Republican political leaders urged him to run for a seat in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. He won that election and served in the Oklahoma State Legislature for eighteen years while continuing with his real estate business. He authored or co-authored all legislation concerning real estate appraisal during his years in the House. Starting in 2004, Leonard put his real estate expertise to work by serving as the Oklahoma County Assessor for fourteen years.
Leonard participated in many associations through the years including the Chamber of Commerce, Oklahoma City Rotary Club, American Legion, Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma Council on Public Affairs, Civil Air Patrol, Dale High School Alumni Association, Federalist Society, OSU President’s Club, OSU Posse, American Legislative Exchange Council, Men’s Dinner Club, Freedoms Foundation at Valley Forge, Republican National Committee, and Petroleum Club. He was a trustee for Oklahoma School of Science and Math, Governor’s Council on Physical Education, and he was a Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) of the National Board of Realtors.
With all these involvements, Leonard had time to be husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and more to his beloved family. He was a life-long member of the Church of Christ which he would consider his most important affiliation. His Christian faith was the foundation of Leonard’s life. He was warm and welcoming, gregarious and giving, and he was not ashamed of The Gospel.
Leonard was preceded in death by his parents, Leonard Fulton and Willie Lee Sullivan; sisters and their husbands, Louise and Dale Cochrane, Christine and Loren Reid, and Leta Mae and James Moore; father-in-law and mother-in-law, Willard and Zelma West; nieces, Karen Reid Walker and Marsha Cochrane Howe; and nephews Lynn Moore and Ronald Cochrane.
Leonard is survived by his beloved wife of sixty-three years, Marilyn; daughter and son-in-law, Diana and Phil Wood; daughter and son-in-law, Lee Ann and Kent Hinds; brother and sister-in-law, Darrel and Madonna Sullivan; brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Paul and Ruth Anne West; grandchildren, Candice and Jason Pitts, Brandon Wood, Guthrie Crull, Sean and Emily Wood, Collin and Courtney Crull, Jenny and Roger Lawlis, Susan and Gerrod Cleburn, and David Hinds; great-grandchildren, Abigail and Tyson Cleburn; and numerous cousins, nephews, and nieces.
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