Clarissa Ann Lapham Sullivan — known to most friends and family members as “Chris” — died June 11, 2022, after a series of strokes.
She was a resident of Lakeland, Florida for more than 60 years. She had other nicknames as well, including “Miss ATT” because she spent so much time on the phone with her three sisters. She had a quick sense of humor and a delivery so deadpan you sometime didn’t know whether she was joking or not. She was born April 14, 1936, in Schenectady, New York. She graduated from Mont Pleasant High School.
While working as a secretary for General Electric in Schenectady, she met John Joseph Sullivan. They married in 1960 and honeymooned in Florida. She and “Sully” liked the weather so much that they began making plans to move permanently to the Sunshine State. In Lakeland, she enjoyed winning bowling trophies and organizing card party fashion shows at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. She did not enjoy living with his parents in a single-wide trailer, so she was thrilled when they bought a little house with an orange tree in the backyard. She loved floating in their above-ground pool.
She worked for Union Camp until they had the first of their three children. She never worked full-time again, but she did several stints of sorting mail for the U.S. Postal Service (where her husband worked). For years she sold paperback books and other items at the Lakeland Flea Market. She was known for her red Ford Econoline van whose horn blasted the theme from “The Dukes of Hazzard.”
Having three kids kept her busy. She was the den mother for a Cub Scout troop and a chauffeur for gymnastics practice and little league and soccer games. She never missed a band or chorus concert and sat through many mediocre community theater productions. She and Sully built their own house in the country. She was happier when they finally moved closer to downtown in the senior community of Foxwood. She enjoyed cake with friends on weekend mornings or vodka martinis at 5 pm. Other favorite things: browsing at Old Time Pottery, playing the slots at Seminole Hardrock Casino, and dinner at Lakeland’s Terrace Hotel. She spent many hours over coffee talking with friends after mass at St. Joseph.
Chris is survived by two sisters, Marilyn Edyth Lapham Brewer of Cleveland, Tennessee, and Linda Diane Lapham Abele of Lakeland. Her beloved older sister, Alberta Lapham Madonna, died in March.
She is also survived by sons Mark Eugene Sullivan (Wayne Hoffman) of New York,
N.Y., Patrick Daniel Sullivan of Lakeland; daughter Colleen Ann Sullivan Clark of
Macon, GA; grandsons Joseph Andrew Clark and Jeffrey William Clark; and
many nieces and nephews.
A funeral mass will be performed at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lakeland at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 25, 2022. She will be buried alongside her husband at Florida National Cemetery in Bushnell, FL. Condolences may be sent to the family at Central Florida Funeral Chapel.