Originally Published: January 26, 2011 9:54 p.m.
Lois Welling Sullivan, age 86, died in Phoenix on Jan. 25, 2011. A native Arizonan, she resided in the Valley all 86 years of her life. She was born on May 22, 1924, in Mesa, Ariz. Her father celebrated her birth by calling her his desert rose.
Lois grew up in a loving family in rural Phoenix. She was an active, involved young woman, always ready for adventure and giving. She graduated from St Mary's High School in 1942 where she was the student body president. She met William John Sullivan in 1945 and married him the following year on June 29, 1946.
Over the next 65 years, Lois and Bill raised their 13 children, taking them on many adventures in Arizona, Colorado and Mexico. She loved camping, gardening, reading, writing, collecting Mexican folk art, and was an adept watercolorist. Lois and Bill especially enjoyed their last years together and with family on the Mexican beaches in Tenacatita and Mazatlán.
Lois always looked for ways to help others. She was active for 52 years in St. Francis Xavier Parish, served on the boards of Casa Linda, Catholic Charities, and as board president of the North Phoenix Corporate Ministry from 1979 to 1981. An extraordinary wife and mother, her contributions to Arizona were recognized in 1984 when she was honored as Arizona Mother of the Year.
Family and prayer were central to Lois's life. She encouraged her children to take risks, develop their talents and cherish all human beings. A beautiful woman who was not afraid to love, she frequently organized wonderful family celebrations and embraced friends into the family home.
Lois was preceded in death by her fifth child, Janet, in 1968, and two grandchildren, Charles and Angelina. Lois is survived by her husband William; her brother, Kenneth Welling; a dozen children, Bill (Diane), Dennis (Caít), Terry (Jeff), Sally (Peter), Mary (Tom), Sheila Polk (Tom) of Prescott, Joe (Linda), Francis (Mary Jane), Steven (Katie), Linda (Dale), Martin and Lisa (Nate); more than two dozen grandchildren, Patrick, Braeden (Liza-Jane), Janet, Jesse, Anna, David, Sarah (Adam), Bennett, William, James, John, Stephen, Matthew, Teresa, Tyrel, Tessa, Benjamin, Spencer, Molly, Nathaniel, Liam, Paulina, Ruby, Christophe, Matthew (Jedebra) and Tim (Cailin); and two great-grandchildren, Joey and Camden.
Join the family in praying the Rosary at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011, at Brophy Chapel, 4701 N. Central Ave., Phoenix. A memorial Mass will follow at 1:30 p.m.
Donations in her memory may be sent to St. Vincent de Paul Society and Hospice of the Valley.
Information provided by survivors.