This blog represents most of the newspaper columns (appearing in various Colorado Community Newspapers and Yourhub.com) written by me, James LaRue, during the time in which I was the director of the Douglas County Libraries in Douglas County, Colorado. (Some columns are missing, due to my own filing errors.) This blog covers the time period from April 11, 1990 to January 12, 2012.

Unless I say so, the views expressed here are mine and mine alone. They may be quoted elsewhere, so long as you give attribution. The dates are (at least according my records) the dates of publication in one of the above print newspapers.

The blog archive (web view) is in chronological order. The display of entries, below, seems to be in reverse order, new to old.

All of the mistakes are of course my own responsibility.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

August 21, 2008 - love story leads to children's room gift

by Sheila Kerber, Manager, Philip S. Miller Library

Mark Twain once said, “Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.”

I would like to introduce you to a remarkable couple who have slowly grown their love for over fifty years. Douglas County Libraries' Philip S. Miller Library is the beneficiary of a generous bequest from Dr. Robert C. Sullivan in honor of his wife Bobbi. Above the door in the Children’s department a plaque will read: "Through this door come tomorrow's leaders" and below "Children's Room dedicated to Roberta D. Sullivan from Dr. Robert C Sullivan."

Last Tuesday I had the enormous pleasure of meeting Dr. and Mrs. Robert C. Sullivan who celebrated 52 year of marriage on June 30 of this year. This is a real love story.

In 1954, Robert was getting ready to graduate from Williams College when he went to Smith College one afternoon with a car full of friends for a blind date. Robert remembers "there was a long walkway from the house to the curb where we were in the car. The first two girls came down, and they looked like were going to Siberia. Their heads were down. Then Bobbi came down. She was skipping, and her red hair was flying in the breeze, and she had the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. I said, to myself, I have to get to know this girl. And I did."

Robert and Bobbi dated for two years while Robert began medical school at George Washington University, and Bobbi finished her music degree at Smith College. They met in New York on weekends, and Robert worked construction during the summers in Grand Rapids Michigan so he could be near Bobbi. Finally on June 30, 1956 they married. The wedding took place in Bobbi’s backyard in Michigan. That same evening they began driving to Washington, D.C. so Robert could resume his medical studies at George Washington University.

Bobbi began teaching music at Mount Ranier Junior High School in Maryland. She entered the school the first day with a bust of Beethoven under her arm and discovered a lifelong passion for teaching and for the arts.

Bobbi gave birth to six children: Robin, Brian, Timmy, Celia, Elinor and Catherine. Their lives were not without hardship. They lost their third child, Timmy, to a virulent flu epidemic in 1965.

After Robert completed his medical degree, his much beloved Uncle Robert encouraged him to come to Denver for his internship. The Sullivan family was in Colorado three months when they knew they wanted to live in Colorado forever.

When I asked Bobbi and Robert what they liked best about one another. Robert said "She is enormously fun to be with. She is unpredictable and there is always something to enjoy about her." Bobbi's answer to the same question was that Robert was such a decent and generous person. "He is very interesting to live with. There is not a dull bone in his body."

When I asked them what they learned from their parents, Bobbi’s parents taught her that honesty was important and that it is important to "finish what you start." Robert’s parents taught him the value of hard work.

I asked them if they could have pursued another profession what might they have chosen, Bobbi would have been an oceanographer and Robert would have been a pilot.

When I asked them what they are most proud of they both answered, "Our family. We have five wonderful kids and twelve grandchildren, and we are very proud of them all."

They both enjoyed every moment of raising their children. They also loved their careers, Robert's as a surgeon and Bobbi's as a music teacher, but they both agree that family comes first.

I wish you could have seen the remarkable way they still look at one another as they shared the story of their lives. It is so obvious that they have a deep and abiding love for each other. They truly laugh often and love much.

Douglas County Libraries feel very lucky that Dr. Sullivan has expressed his deep affection for his wife by giving so generously to the children of Douglas County. Please drop by and see the lovely plaque which will stand as a permanent testament to the love of one man for one woman.

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