Memorials of Connecticut Judges and Attorneys
As Printed in the Connecticut Reports
Volume 143, page(s) 747-748


Death sometimes strikes with such suddenness that it leaves in its wake deep wounds in those who remain. Such was the situation on September 4, 1950, when Judge Phillip J. Sullivan of the Court of Common Pleas was stricken while on vacation.

Judge Sullivan, the son of Phillip J. and Elizabeth Furey Sullivan, was born on May 10, 1897, in Enfield, Connecticut, where he spent the greater part of his life. He attended the parochial and public schools of the town and was graduated from Enfield High School in 1914. While he was matriculated at the Catholic University Law School at Washington D.C., World War I broke out. He enlisted in the United States navy, serving until the end of the war. After graduation from the Law School in 1918, he carried on the business of his father, who was in ill health, and for several years acted as editor and publisher of "The Thompsonville Press." In 1923, he was admitted to the Connecticut bar, and in 1925, to the Massachusetts bar. He established an office in Enfield and practiced in Massachusetts and Connecticut until his appointment to the Court of Common Pleas on July 27, 1945. He was married to Margaret E. Gaffney of Springfield, Massachusetts, who survives.

Judge Sullivan's skill as a lawyer and his high sense of fidelity to his profession, together with a pleasing personality, made him an outstanding member of the bar. He was town counsel of Enfield for many years and was also prosecuting attorney and judge of the Enfield town court. In 1942, and again in 1944, he was elected representative to the General Assembly. During both sessions he served as a member of the judiciary committee, and in the 1945 session he was minority leader. In his community he was a member of many civic, fraternal and patriotic organizations.

Judge Sullivan had a ready wit and keen sense of humor which made him much sought after as a public speaker. He was of a kind and generous nature, deeply sympathetic to all persons, to all races and creeds. He was a seeker after truth and justice, and directed the full force of his energies to attaining those ends. His leisure time was spent in extensive reading in history and the classics. His decisions as judge of the Court of Common Pleas were the result of thorough deliberation, and he was most painstaking in the construction of his memoranda, striving at all times to employ language readily understood by the lay mind.

In the death of Judge Sullivan, the bench and bar of Connecticut lost an able, conscientious and diligent judge, who loved his work and performed his judicial duties in the most courteous and pleasant manner.