It’s with great sadness that we share the news that Tim Sullivan passed away earlier this month. Tim was Aspire’s State Director for New Hampshire for more than three decades. Tim was beloved for his compassion, integrity, and wit.
Colleagues, families, and individuals alike found a trusted ally and mentor in Tim. He nurtured strong connections wherever he went--whether providing respite in his own home, helping a parent understand a new service, inspiring his peers to speak up, or counseling an employee on how to do the right thing. No one who worked with Tim could forget his sense of humor and the energy he brought to every gathering. You always knew when Tim was in the building.
Tim started his tenure in 1984, when Aspire was known as The Institute of Professional Practice or IPPI, after working at the Laconia State School and the NH Bureau of Developmental Services. Tim was a key player in the development of New Hampshire’s service system, and he continued to be a powerful advocate throughout his career.
Tim led Aspire’s NH division from its early days through the de-institutionalization period and on to community based services for all people with developmental disabilities, regardless of complexity of need. Tim’s ability to create unique, effective services for people with significant behavioral challenges provided unprecedented opportunities for these individuals to live in their communities. Under his watch, innovation and services continued to expand throughout the 80s, 90s, and into the 2000s. When Aspire was without a State Director in Maryland for a time, Tim took on that responsibility as well, commuting weekly to Maryland until a new State Director was hired and fully trained. In the later years, until his retirement in 2015, Tim also served as the corporate human resource officer.
Tim contributed to the wider disability community as a founder, active participant, and sometimes board member for the NH Private Provider Network. He also worked extensively with the American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) to further the field of developmental disabilities nationally. He played a pivotal role in establishing the tax exempt status of shared living providers, a pillar of the service system. Tim was also integral to efforts that clarified the status and appropriate compensation of overnight staff, ensuring that provider agencies complied with the law. After his retirement, Tim was honored by the ANCOR Foundation and inducted into the Legacy Leaders Circle at the 2018 ANCOR National Conference in New Orleans watch here.
Tim died at home in Biddeford, Maine. Rest in peace, dear friend.