Retired banker, a Marblehead fixture, found dead outside home
MARBLEHEAD - Sometime on Sunday or Monday, Edmund Sullivan stepped out onto his porch with a broom and shovel, determined to clear the snow away from his back steps. He never returned to his rambling English cottage on Marblehead Neck that overlooked the harbor.
On Monday, a DHL deliveryman who was bringing a Christmas gift from a friend in England found Sullivan, 89, in the snow. Marblehead Fire Captain Mike Porter said Sullivan was dead when firefighters responded. “We tried to take a pulse. It was an obvious death. He had been there for a little while,’’ said Porter.
Friends say Sullivan’s decision to clear snow was typical of the fiercely independent bachelor who lived in the Marblehead Neck section of town for 65 years.
Raised in Salem, Sullivan earned his bachelor’s and law degrees from Harvard, and also served in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. Since 1944, he had lived in the rambling, 3,700-square-foot house, which had fallen into disrepair in recent years. During much of that time he lived with an unmarried sister. After she died two years ago, he turned to gardening and hiking.
On a street with multimillion-dollar mansions and estates, Sullivan’s house stood out: His grounds were well kept, but some of the windows on the third floor had been open for years.
“He was certainly frugal,’’ said Tony Klein, one of Sullivan’s neighbors who kept a close eye on the former State Street Bank attorney.
A competitive sailor, Sullivan had also been a member of Eastern Yacht Club for more than 60 years. Norman Cressey, who also is a member of the club - located just yards from Sullivan’s house - said his neighbor had total recall of competitive races that occurred off the town’s shore 70 years ago.
“He could name every person he raced and who won and what boat they were on,’’ said Cressey.
John Foster, who worked with Sullivan at State Street Bank, said the Marblehead man was admired among co-workers for his estate and trust work.
“He was very good at what he did. He was very respected at the bank,’’ said Foster, of Marblehead.
Gale Clark , who has known Sullivan for 33 years, said her friend had spent every Christmas Eve with her family during that time.
“We are going to miss him dearly this year,’’ she said.
Klein said Sullivan reluctantly accepted help in his later years. While he hired a plow driver to clear his steep driveway, Sullivan enjoyed shoveling and still drove an old
He was not a fan of spending money on new items. Recently, Sullivan knocked on Klein’s door and asked whether he could store a quart of milk in his friend’s refrigerator. When Klein asked why, Sullivan explained that his 80-year-old refrigerator had broken.
“He never stored the milk at our house. He found someone to fix his fridge,’’ said Klein.