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Thread: Rest in peace john sullivan...

  1. #1
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    My good friend John Sullivan passed away early this morning at 2:25 a.m....

    He was diagnosed with esophagal cancer less than a year ago, and things progressed very quickly...

    Where do I begin?

    John was just a sweet sweet man who poured everything he had into his instruments, relationships, and golf game.

    John leaves behind his partner Patricia Lackaff, who has just lost her best friend...
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to her....

    He also leaves behind a very very large band of happy musicians who I imagine at this moment playing "We Bid You Goodnight" at points all over the globe....
    All with impeccable tone.... #

    He will be missed in a big big way... # #

    Bruce




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    Very sorry to hear that Bruce...may he rest in peace.

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    Chief Moderator/Shepherd Ted Eschliman's Avatar
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    Oh my...
    John certainly left his mark on the world with his excellent craft. I heard it was only a matter of time with his health, but that doesn't make it any easier. Definitely prayers go out to the family and long live the memory of his personality and his wonderful instruments.
    Ted Eschliman
    Tenor Guitar Enthusiast

    www.JazzMando.com
    Author, Getting Into Jazz Mandolin

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    Very sad news.....

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    Café habitué Paul Hostetter's Avatar
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    Gosh, I knew he was in trouble but I didn't realize it was this far along. A fine man, we'll miss him.
    .
    ph

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    Paul Hostetter, luthier
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    sorry about John...I had an electric mando he built..I'll always remember him by the quality and soul he put into it. Dave

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    Bruce, That was hard news for you to have to break to us, so thank you for doing that. My heart is very heavy today because of John's death. May he rest in peace. Ken Cartwright
    Cartwright's Music & Repair Shop
    "I repair what others sell"
    Stayton, Oregon

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    Site founder Scott Tichenor's Avatar
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    Stephen Ruffo sent this beautiful photo of a set of Sullivan instruments. I never had the pleasure of meeting John, and I'm sorry for that. Bruce's Sullivan mandolin is one of the finest instruments I've ever had the pleasure of playing. Rest in peace, John.
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  9. #9
    Professional Dilletante Rick Banuelos's Avatar
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    Many condolences. Mr. Sullivan was a fantastic luthier.
    Rick Banuelos

    Burien, WA


    2002 Mario Proulx OM/D
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    Thank you Bruce for letting us know. I only met John once. But I'd seen his work many times and although that was just a part of his life, I respected it and it reflected what he was all about. I am so sorry for his family and friends (like you). If we have any effect on how he shall rest, I'm sure it will be with great respect. The living world has lost quite a human.

    Let us rejoice in such a life despite our loss.
    Dale

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    a nice man and a kind soul - I will treasure the memories I have of him and look forward to seeing him again in the Upper Room.

  12. #12
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    "I never had the pleasure of meeting John..."

    You aren't alone...
    John tended to shy away from big public events like Wintergrass, GAL conventions, IBMA, etc. etc., and instead opted to stay home and perfect his craft and golf game....
    This is one of the reasons that to this day he kind of glides "under the radar"...

    "I had an electric mando he built."

    Oh man...

    I ran into that mandolin at one of the few public events John liked to attend, the Northwest Handmade Musical Instrument Exhibit at Marylhurst College near Portland...
    I couldn't put the mandolin down, and must have played that thing for 2-3 hours...
    What a great mandolin...

    About 10 months later I was at Wintergrass, and a guy came up to me and said he had something for me from Sully...
    He had made me a carbon copy of your mandolin, Dave, and I was floored. #
    I never "ordered" one per se, but John figured I needed one, and he was right...

    The joy he got from putting an instrument in a player's hands was immeasurable...

    I remember one night we went down to the local pub to see Foghorn String Band. #Caleb Klauder plays one of his F5s, and Jon Neufeld from Jackstraw was there with his Sully archtop, another cannon of an instrument...
    Anyway, I wound up sitting in too, so there were 3 Sullys going off like a bomb.
    #
    I don't think I've ever seen John so happy, and it's a memory I'll always hold very dear indeed...
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  13. #13
    I may be old but I'm ugly billhay4's Avatar
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    It's sad to lose such a person.
    Bill
    IM(NS)HO

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    I had the pleassure of talking to John a month or so ago, to inquire about his mandolins. I had heard such good things about them, in all aspects, that I wanted to get some more information about them. He was extremely nice and was a pleasure to talk to. It was obvious he was not in very good health, but I had no idea how serious his situation was. He told me he was not currently building any instruments, but to send him an e-mail and when he started building again he would give me a call.

    All I can say is if I was ever in John's situation, I can only hope to have half the class and kindness he obviously had. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
    Tim
    Passernig F5

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    very sad news - my condolences to his family.

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    Very sorry to hear about John's death, he was a treasure.
    Marylhurst is coming up soon, do you think we couldput together a memorial for him? Maybe a retrospective show of his instruments.

    GD

  17. #17
    Registered User bootinz's Avatar
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    There is a show already scheduled. Check with Steve Reischman or James Bryan.
    I remember playing the first mandolin John made. I don't think I've ever played a worse mando. In a short period of time he was making top quality instruments. It just goes to show what a talented and very hard working guy he was. John was also a gifted musician. I feel lucky to have known John and even luckier to own one of his instruments.
    KJ
    KJ

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    Hello all, I to am saddened by the loss of my good friend, John Sullivan. I have to share a story about John. One day I was at his house and looking at his beautiful Instruments (I have a 2000 F-5) and those of you that knew John knew that he would put any inlay in that you wanted. I said to him "John your instruments are so beautiful that they should have your name on the top. Why don't you do that?" John took that famous Sullivan stance, looked me in the eye and said "you know I don't do that because I don't have to!". That was John. No fanfare. So if you are able to make his celebration on the 29th in Portland, celebrate our friend and all that he gave us. The golf, the boating and the wonderful instruments. I talked with John recently and he was still building what he could (I wanted him to build me one of his great guitars) and he told me that between building and his love, Patty, this was what was keeping him alive. We will miss you John.
    Ruffo

  19. #19
    Registered Mandolin User mandopete's Avatar
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    I will play something by Jackstraw today on Bluegrass Ramble. That way folks can hear two Sullivan instruments.

    RIP.
    2015 Chevy Silverado
    2 bottles of Knob Creek bourbon
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    such awful news. i will treasure my mandolin even more now. my few exchanges with john were much like the others described - a total gentlemen and obvious master craftsmen. i add my condolences to his friends and family. he will certainly be missed, but he has no doubt left his legacy in his truly amazing mandolins, guitars and fiddles.

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    John had finally agreed to accept public recognition when he OK'd the celebration and tribute of him and his work. While this sort of attention can be tough for anyone, with his humility I think it took quite a bit of courage for John to let us express the appreciation and love that has been heading his way. Thankfully as this event has been taking shape he did get to know about it.

    We're still having his show next Sunday afternoon here in Portland, and info is attached to John's website:

    http://www.jhsullivan.net//index.html

    It's gonna be a time. Make it if you can, or send photos, messages, and/or contributions. You can contact me about these, and we'll have a contribution system set up by later in the week.

    Jim bryanj@spiritone.com

  22. #22
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    "I talked with John recently and he was still building what he could..."

    John is pretty well-known for his mandolins and archtop guitars, but what he
    really wanted to do was build 5-string fiddles...

    So he did...

    I have a stash of molds and plaster casts of some Strads and Amati plates and scrolls that I've collected over the years, so I packed them up and sent them down to John awhile back.

    He freaked.
    For a builder to have actual Strad scrolls and plates on the workbench to work from is a real tool, and shortly thereafter he knocked out a couple 5-string fiddles with Strad influences, and they are just exceptional instruments.

    Had he lived, I think John would have taken the 5-string fiddle to new places. Heck, he already did, but I think he only got 2 or 3 off the bench....

    It might have been the last instrument he made...
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    This is a hard day. I didn't know John for very long, but his warmth, direct manner, and impatience with the disease all had me convinced he was going to make it. I'm trying to get up here a picture of his last instrument, an incredible 5 string violin, the 2nd of 2. It seemed to make him happy that I had it, and it makes me happy now, happy that we have this great legacy of his instruments, and sad that he won't get to make more.
    I'm very lucky to have known him.
    Darol Anger

  24. #24
    wood butcher Spruce's Avatar
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    Thanks for that Darol...

    I wasn't quite sure that he got that one off the bench, and I'm sure Sully is thrilled that it's in your hands.

    Looking forward to hearing it someday....
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  25. #25
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    I learned the sad news today about John Sullivan's passing. Although I didn't see John but maybe once a year, I considered him a good friend. #He built an F-5 for me in 1998 and I got to visit him many times during it's construction. What a pleasure to see him take such great joy in the woods and the exacting work. #It's an extraordinary instrument.

    He was a warm, friendly, very generous, and extremely talented and humble guy. And his workshop was in the kitchen nook! seemed perfect for john. #probably a little choice red spruce dust spiced up the scrambled eggs now and then.

    I'll miss you john.

    Cal Scott
    calscottmusic.com

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