Cover photo for Joan E. Sullivan's Obituary
Joan E. Sullivan Profile Photo

Joan E. Sullivan

April 14, 1932 — August 1, 2023

East Walpole

Joan E. Sullivan

Joan E. (Steele) Sullivan, age 91, passed away on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, at her home in East Walpole, Massachusetts.  Born in Boston, Massachusetts on April 14, 1932, she was the daughter of the late Edward and Carmela (Panico) Steele.  Joan was raised in the Roslindale neighborhood of Boston, where she graduated from Roslindale High School.  She continued her education at Boston State Teacher's College, earning her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education.  Following her graduation, Joan began her teaching career, taking a position with the City of Boston


Joan married her beloved husband, John J. "Jack" Sullivan, Jr., on September 2, 1955.  Together, they made their home in Boston, where, after welcoming her children, Joan took on the role of a homemaker, raising and caring for her young family.  In the late 1950s, Joan and Jack moved to Dedham and eventually to Needham, where they settled in 1963.  As her daughters grew up, Joan returned to her career, taking a position as a teacher's aide in the Needham Public Schools.  After leaving the school department, Joan held a wide variety of jobs over the years, learning new skills and marking lifelong friends along the way.


Throughout her life, Joan looked forward to traveling with her husband, Jack.  They took countless road trips, visiting points throughout New England, but truly loved visiting Cape Cod and Maine.  Back at home, she and Jack loved watching the birds and other wildlife in their backyard.  Joan was an avid gardener, who loved being surrounded by flowers and plants.  In more recent years, Joan enjoyed spending time at the Walpole Senior Center, crocheting lap blankets for veterans while enjoying conversations with her fellow members.  Most of all, Joan was dedicated to her family, and looked forward to holidays and gatherings with her children, nieces and nephews.  She was delighted at the birth of her grandchildren and was always sure to keep up with their events and accomplishments. 


Beloved wife of the late John J. Sullivan, Jr.

Loving mother of Patricia A. Sullivan of Nahant and Lorraine M. Hirsch and her husband, Frederick, of Melrose.

Cherished grandmother of Elizabeth Hirsch and Gregory Hirsch.

Devoted sister of Elaine "Bunny" Balabanis and her late husband, David, of Walpole, and the late Marilyn Sarnie and her late husband, John.

Also survived by her many loving nieces and nephews.


Relatives and friends are kindly invited to attend Joan's visitation on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, from 4 to 7 PM in the James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home, 48 Common Street, Walpole.


All are invited to gather in the funeral home on Wednesday, August 9, 2023, at 9:30 AM, prior to Joan's Mass of Christian Burial that will be celebrated in Saint Timothy's Church, 650 Nichols Street, Norwood at 10:30 AM.  Interment will take place privately at the Massachusetts National Cemetery in Bourne.


In lieu of flowers, memorial donations in Joan's name may be made to Saint Anthony's Guild, at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joan E. Sullivan, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Tuesday, August 8, 2023

4:00 - 7:00 pm (Eastern time)

James H. Delaney & Son Funeral Home

48 Common St, Walpole, MA 02081

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Mass of Christian Burial

Wednesday, August 9, 2023

10:30 - 11:30 am (Eastern time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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