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Elizabeth J. "Betty" Sullivan

November 25, 1925 ~ September 21, 2022 (age 96)


Madison - Elizabeth J. “Betty” Sullivan, age 96, was born to eternal life on Wednesday, September 21, 2022. Betty was born in Lincoln, Nebraska, on Thanksgiving Day, Nov. 25, 1925. She grew up on the family farm, homesteaded by her great grandparents in 1847, in Lena, Illinois. She was the youngest daughter of Edward J. and Jane (McConville) Sullivan.

She attended grammar school on the family farm and graduated from Freeport High School in 1943. In 1947 she graduated from Clarke College, Dubuque, IA, with degrees in Nutrition and Biological Science. She graduated from St. Anthony Hospital School of Laboratory Medicine, Rockford, IL, with an MT degree (specialty in Bacteriology) from the American Association of Clinical Pathologists. She did further graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, and Duke University.

Her work experience included head of the Clinical Bacteriology Laboratory, St. Anthony Hospital, Rockford, IL; Virus and Cell culture researcher at Great Lakes Naval Training Center, Great Lakes, IL; lab manager and researcher at Univ. of IL. Medical School Rockford, IL. She retired with emeritus status from the University of Wisconsin Madison Office of Biological Safety.

In retirement, she completed Master Gardeners training and established extensive gardens at her home. She also reclaimed a prairie on her farm in northern Illinois. Her volunteer work related to gardening was done at the Arboretum and Olbrich Botanical Gardens.

She was a member of Our Lady Queen of Peace Parish since 1978 and volunteered as parish librarian for several years and at Luke house. Betty was a member of the Secular Franciscan Order, Dane County Shamrock Club, the Madison Catholic Woman’s Club, the Stephenson Co. IL. Farm Bureau, and Stephenson Co. Historical Society, Freeport, IL.

Betty is survived by nieces and nephews: Judith A. Burk, Kathy Tomlinson, James E. Sullivan, H. G. Nordling Jr., Jane McDonald, and Mary Beth Graves, as well as several great nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by her parents; brother, John F. Sullivan, in 1990, sister, Mary I. Nordling 2005 and nephews Daniel Nordling 1971 and John Patrick Sullivan 2016.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at OUR LADY QUEEN OF PEACE CATHOLIC CHURCH, 401 S. Owen Dr., Madison, on Wednesday, September 28, 2022, at 11:00 am, with Monsignor Larry Bakke presiding. A visitation will be held at church on Wednesday from 10:00 am until the Mass. The burial will take place at Calvary Cemetery in Freeport, Illinois.

Although she was successful in many things in her work and in retirement, she considered her greatest accomplishment to be as a loyal member of the Church.


Cress Funeral & Cremation Services

3610 Speedway Road

(608) 238-3434

To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


September 28, 2022

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (Wisconsin)

Mass of Christian Burial
September 28, 2022

11:00 AM
Our Lady Queen of Peace Catholic Church (Wisconsin)

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