Eleanor Mae (Erwin) Sullivan Obituary

Eleanor Mae (Erwin) Sullivan, 89, of St. Joseph, formerly of Benton Harbor, left this world June 7, 2021 surrounded by family members. Each will remember that her love of family and loyalty to friends were the only two characteristics that exceeded her sharp wit. Perhaps it was the mathematical gymnastics she learned as a bookkeeper that allowed her to have 50 consecutive 39th birthday parties.



Eleanor was born September 3, 1931 to Bessie and Frank Erwin of Benton Harbor, where she lived for 60 years. She attended Benton Harbor Schools and began her family with her husband, Billy Dean Sullivan, in 1949 with the birth of their first child.



Eleanor had a 27 year career and retired from Woodhams Ford in South Haven. Even though Eleanor’s work ethic was surpassed by none, her career did not reflect her passion. She devoted her life to caring for family with her career earnings and with every moment she had to spare. Eleanor considered the achievements of her children and grandchildren as her own. Eleanor’s devotion to her family was her main hobby!



You never had to guess what Eleanor was thinking, she would let you know right after she was done scrubbing the floor on her hands and knees and working her fingers to the bone. A tease from Eleanor was always a stamp of approval.



Eleanor is survived by her children Bill (Sandy) and daughter Kathy (Bill) Swanson. She is the grandmother to: Scott (Kristin), Sean (Janet), Chad (Trish) Swanson, Brad (Ann) Swanson, Brooke Swanson (Kevin Deja); and great grandmother to Allysun (Matt Sila) Sullivan, Katie Sullivan, Erin Sullivan, Connor Sullivan, and Max Jung. Many found a family in Eleanor, as she accepted some very special friends as part of her family (the family of Trisha Hayes, Marilyn DiMaggio, the Hills, and the Duthies).

Eleanor is preceded in death by her siblings Phyllis Erwin, Don Erwin, Shirley Vaughn, Bob Erwin, and Walter Erwin.



A gathering will be held Thursday, June 10 from 4-6 at Starks & Menchinger Chapel where the family will be accepting condolences. Sharing of Eleanor’s life is immediately following at Starks at 6:00. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital or The Humane Society of Southwest Michigan. Those wishing to sign Eleanor’s Memory Book online may do so at www.starks-menchinger.com. 




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