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David Paul Sullivan


March 30, 2022

David Paul Sullivan

David Paul Sullivan, 70, passed away peacefully Tuesday March 8, 2022, with family by his side at the home where he lived his entire life. He was born August 23, 1951, at St. Mary's Hospital in Sparta, WI to John Carlton and Louise Margaret (Brieske) Sullivan, the youngest of 6 children.

He attended Bohn School on Summit Ridge, then Leon Grade School, and finally Sparta Senior High. Dave hated school and gladly quit to take over the family farm when he was 16.

Dave met Kathie Pfuhl in 1976. They went on their first date on Sunday, June 1st to The Rustic Inn in Oakdale for live music. They married at St. Augustine's Church in Norwalk, WI on April 16th, 1977. On their wedding day Kathie was happy to pay the two $20 bets she had made previously with her dad and his friend Ed; that she wouldn't get married before age 25 and she would never marry a farmer. However, fate had a different plan and she did both! It was a standing joke their entire marriage that Kathie was originally attracted to Dave because of his beautiful blue eyes, farmer tan, and cool 1975 Ford Explorer pickup. She reminded him again several days before his death.

Dave and Kathie continued to be dairy farmers for another 23 years. They bought the farm next door from Dave's oldest brother, Don, and his wife Charlene, and increase cow numbers and acres. Dave was always happy with a great field of corn, or a good crop of hay. Three highlights of his farming days were getting his first tractor with a cab, installing a manure pit so he didn't have to haul every day, and anytime he got a new skid steer. He favored red equipment, loving International tractors and New Holland.

Dave and Kathie were blessed with two sons, Brian in 1979 and Corey in 1982. The boys were brought up with strong work ethics, which they still follow today. Dave was happy when his oldest son Brian wanted to buy the cows and take over the farm so he could pursue a growing passion for building. He started Sullivan Construction LLC, including his son Corey for a short time, and eventually forming a partnership with Stuart Johnson. Dave could fix or build almost anything and was never afraid to try something new. He remodeled the inside of the family farm home, room by room, and eventually did a complete makeover of the outside with new windows, doors, siding, roof, and over 100' of a new wrap around porch his wife asked for. He completed that project just last summer by adding white railing. Dave said it finally made the home look complete and would keep the little granddaughters safe. It has already become a place for family gatherings and Sunday picnics and will continue to be for many seasons to come.

Dave had a great eye for detail and things were done to perfection. He took pride in doing a good job on the homes, garages, and sheds he built for customers, many of them becoming lifelong friends. When his two widowed sisters moved in next door in the 1990's, he became the fixer upper at their home also.

When Dave retired from full-time building, he started working for his son Brian. He helped working on the crew of Sullivan Custom Farming. Dave enjoyed cutting thousands of acres of hay and rye with a Fendt tractor with a 30-foot mower; a big improvement over how Dave started farming with and old International 544 tractor and 7-foot haybine. Dave made friends with all the guys on the crews and the farmers too!

Dave worked hard and played hard too. In his younger years he was always on a softball team with lots of weekend tournaments. When needed, he milked cows early or late, so he never missed a game. For a while, all four Sullivan brothers were on the same team. Occasionally including a nephew (or four), the team was referred to as "The Fighting Sullivan's". There were occasional heated discussions after games, and anyone knows that if you crossed one of them, you crossed them all! Dave was also on a bowling team for years and was a bit of a pool shooting shark as well. Dave loved to hunt and snowmobile and passed that on to both of his sons. The weekend before Dave passed, he learned his boys were not going to the final race of the season because of his declining health. Dave convinced them both to go and was so proud when both Brian and Corey made it to the semi-finals, racing each other! When Dave heard Brian won the Snow Outlaws World Finals Race in Cable, WI, he said "Great" with a louder voice than he had been able to use in weeks. And Dave was still here to greet his boys as promised when they got home.

Dave's favorite role in life was being a grandpa, first to Brandon and Gavin, then to having three delightful granddaughters to spoil, and spoil them he did! There was always ice cream for dessert when they were around. Kinley (7), Brielle (3), and Kaylin (3) had their grandpa so wrapped around their little fingers; he couldn't say no to them. He was so proud of all five of them and they brought out a softer side of him others often never saw.

Dave went out west on a fall hunting trip each year. He first went with his father and brother-in-law, then later his cousins, and ended up going with his nephews.

Dave enjoyed being an uncle, and all his nieces and nephews have great stories to tell how he loved to tease and pick on them. He was the favorite uncle to at least half of them!

Dave is survived by his wife, Kathie, two amazing sons, Brian and Corey, two daughters-in-law he loved like daughters, Karla and Kathy, five wonderful grandchildren, Brandon, Gavin, Brielle, Kinley, and Kaylin, sister Karen Lydon, brother Donald (Charlene), mother-in-law Marlene Pfuhl, and brother-in-law Kurt (Meg) Pfuhl. He is further survived by 13 nieces and nephews: Shelly (Paul) Hobson, Kelly (Ron) Loe, Randy (Heidi) Sullivan, Jody (Bob) Phillips, Jeff (Mary) Sullivan, Terry (Tom) Arndt, Colleen (Justin) Scholze, Mike (Brenda) Lydon, Chris (Kerry) Kerska, Kevin (Jeanne) Lydon, Elliot (Katie) Pfuhl, Isaac Pfuhl, and Arianna Pfuhl; a host of cousins, other relatives, close friends, and his German Shepard buddy, Rhett (whom Dave requested be buried beside him upon his death).

Dave is preceded in death by his parents, John and Louise, two brothers Francis and Linus, a sister Jenine Moe, two brothers-in-law James Lydon and John Moe, a sister-in-law Evelyn Sullivan, and his father-in-law Rupert H. Pfuhl.

Family and friends are invited to a visitation/celebration of life at 11:00 am on Sunday, April 3rd, at Club 16 in Sparta, WI (1615 West Wisconsin Street). A luncheon will follow at 12:30 pm with time to reminisce and share stories of your favorite memories of Dave. A private burial will take place at a later date on the Sullivan family farm.

In Lieu of flowers, family requests donations be made in Dave's memory to Tomah Health Hospice Touch, 601 Straw Street, Tomah, WI 54660. Help provided to Dave, Kathie, and family during the last days of Dave's life was invaluable.

A special thank you goes out to the relatives and close friends who stopped to visit with Dave during his last weeks when he could not leave home.

The Torkelson Funeral Home of Sparta, WI, is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at


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