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Posted by Tasha Weiss on January 24, 2013 at 6:15 PM.
Paul James Sullivan, P.E., a retired bridge engineer with the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, passed away on January 10 at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, surrounded by his family. He was 86 years old.
Sullivan was a lifelong and proud public employee and union member. His career at the Massachusetts Highway Department included instituting and leading the first Quality Control Program for Bridge Erection in the Commonwealth, a program that became a model for other states, and he rose to the position of bridge engineer before his retirement. His contributions to bridge safety were recognized when he became the first public official to receive the American Road & Transportation Builders Association’s prestigious “Lifetime Achievement Award.”
His contributions didn’t stop with his retirement. He devoted many voluntary hours to the American Welding Society towards the development of welding standards and procedures for aluminum and steel. He was a tireless advocate for his fellow workers and became president of the then Local 780 of AFSCME (American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees).
A strong believer in the value of lifelong learning, Sullivan earned a Bachelors degree and multiple Masters degrees in political science, urban planning and education from the University of Massachusetts - Boston, Boston State College and Rutgers University. He joined the U.S. Marines Corps at 16, served in the South Pacific during World War II and was a lifelong member of the Disabled American Veterans.
He is survived by his wife of 40 years, Toby Pearlstein, a son, a daughter and two grandchildren.