Sullivan, Tommy, 1916-1958

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Thomas Francis “Tommy” Sullivan was born on July 24, 1916, to Patrick and Bridget (Kelly) Sullivan and raised in Springfield, Massachusetts. He attended Cathedral High School, served in the U.S. Army in North Africa during World War II, and then worked for the U.S. Postal Service as a mail carrier in Springfield for eleven years. He married Alyce Houlihan and they had three children: Thomas Jeffrey (Jeff), Martin, and Sheila.

Sullivan played accordion and specialized in traditional Irish music. His band included Chick Borelli (banjo) and Johnny Kane (fiddle), and he was a close friend of accordionist Joe Derrane. His son Jeff also became an accordion player, and played at the age of ten in a fundraiser for his father, who was suffering from colon cancer. The Testimonial Dance in Sullivan’s honor was held on June 20, 1958 at the American Legion Post 430 in Springfield, where he was a member. It featured the Irish music bands of Dave Keough, Chris Tabb, Jack Fitzgerald, and Johnny Kane, as well as accordionists Joe Derrane, Jerry O’Brien, and Johnny Powell.

Sullivan died at the age of 42 on October 8, 1958 in Springfield.

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf T. Jeffrey Sullivan collection of Tommy Sullivan and Joe Derrane Boston College. John J. Burns Library
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts MA US
Irish in Massachusetts
Traditional music


Birth 1916-07-24

Death 1958-10-08

Related Descriptions


Ark ID: w6r89789

SNAC ID: 88017959