Cover photo for Donald "Don" Vernon Sullivan's Obituary
Donald "Don" Vernon Sullivan Profile Photo
1937 Donald "Don" 2023

Donald "Don" Vernon Sullivan

July 11, 1937 — April 8, 2023

Albert Lea, MN

Donald “Don” Vernon Sullivan, 85, passed away surrounded by his loving family on April 8, 2023 in Albert Lea, MN. Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 AM Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at St. Theodore’s Catholic Church in Albert Lea. Visitation will be held for friends and family the evening prior; Tuesday, April 11, 2023 from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM at Bonnerup Funeral and Cremation Services in Albert Lea.

Born on July 11, 1937 in Lisbon, ND to Irene L. (Rice) and Vernon L. Sullivan. Don was raised on the family farm near Lisbon where he attended St. Aloysius Catholic Elementary School and graduated from Lisbon Public School. During his senior year, Don and his buddies decided to attend a dance in nearby Elliot, where he met his future wife, Shirley Darlene Hanson. After two dances and a request for a date, Don went home and told his Mother, “I found the girl I’m going to marry.” On October 4, 1958, Don and Darlene were married. They became the parents of 7 children, Sonda, Teresa, David, Thomas, Vicky, Debra, and Cynthia.

Don’s calling in life was teaching. He spent many years teaching 8th grade geography at Southwest Junior High in Albert Lea. He enjoyed teaching the Summer Science Program and sharing his love and knowledge for fossils and rocks. Any student who attended summer science might remember that he offered to buy a milk shake for any trilobite found. When Don was out of class, he was often found spending time fishing, haggling prices at garage sales, purchasing a plethora of items at local auctions, maintaining the greenest lawn in the neighborhood, and spending time with his family. Some of his most cherished memories were made during family gatherings at Dead Lake and telling the grandchildren stories about their family history; like the times he spent with his Grandma and Grandpa Rice and life growing up on the family farm. After retiring from education in 1996, Don and Darlene spent their winters in Texas, where he learned the art of Lapidary; working with precious stones and minerals to create beautiful pieces of art and jewelry.

Welcoming Don through Heaven’s gate are his parents, Vernon and Irene (Rice) Sullivan; sisters, Pearl Dziuk and Sharon Wall: brother-in-law Lee Wall; sister-in-law, Coleen Sullivan; granddaughter, Josie Anderson.

Left to cherish his memory are his wife,  Darlene Sullivan; seven children, Sonda ( Terry) Swart, Teresa (Jerry) Anderson, David (Crystal) Sullivan, Thomas (Amy) Sullivan, Vicky (Eric) Knudson, Debra (John) Westphal, and Cynthia (Chris Rorwick) Emerson; brother, Jerry Sullivan; 3 sisters, Kaye (Alden) Kempel, Jody (Jim) Hauge, and Pat (Steve) Cole; brother-in-law, Larry Dziuk; 17 grandchildren, Mark (Ashley) Swart, Angela Swart, and special friend Chad Robins, Jenna (Tom) Monsen, Joshua, and Benjamin Anderson, Claire and Aidan Sullivan, Brianna and Liam Sullivan, Connor and Lauren Knudson, Ethan and Jacqualyn Westphal, Jack and Grant Emerson, and Cole Rorwick; and 6 great-grandchildren, Cameron and Elliot Swart, Kenlee Swart, and Orrin, Josephine and Michael Monsen.

In Lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial be made to St. Theodore’s Elementary School.



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Service Schedule

Past Services


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Central time)

Bonnerup Funeral Service - Albert Lea

2210 East Main Street, Albert Lea, MN 56007

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Funeral Service

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

11:00am - 12:00 pm (Central time)

St. Theodore Catholic Church

315 E Clark St, Albert Lea, MN 56007

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Wednesday, April 12, 2023

12:00 - 12:30 pm (Central time)

St. Theodore Catholic Cemetery

Lakewood Ave, Albert Lea, MN 56007

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