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George M. Sullivan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

George Sullivan
Mayor of Anchorage
In office
Preceded byElmer E. Rasmuson
Succeeded byTony Knowles
Personal details
George Murray Sullivan

(1922-03-31)March 31, 1922
Portland, Oregon, U.S.
DiedSeptember 23, 2009(2009-09-23) (aged 87)
Anchorage, Alaska, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Spouse(s)Margaret Eagan Sullivan
Children9, including Dan
Military service
Branch/service United States Army
Battles/warsWorld War II

George Murray Sullivan (March 31, 1922 – September 23, 2009) was an American politician from the state of Alaska who served as the mayor of Anchorage from 1967 until 1981.

Early life

His father was Harvey Sullivan, a U.S. District Marshal who had followed the Chilkoot Trail in 1898 to join the Klondike Gold Rush.[citation needed]

Sullivan was born in Portland, Oregon and raised in Valdez, Alaska, then the location of the federal court for the Third Judicial District of the Territory of Alaska. His mother was elected mayor in 1934. During the summer of 1937, he lied about his age in order to obtain a job at the Kennecott Mines; he was only 15, and the minimum age was 16.[citation needed]

After graduating from Valdez High School, Sullivan went on to join the United States Army during World War II and served in the Aleutian Islands.[citation needed]


After the war, he lived in Nenana and worked as a deputy marshal. In 1952, the family moved to Fairbanks, where Sullivan was employed as the manager of a freight company. He was elected to the city council and became active in the Republican Party. In 1959, the family moved to Anchorage, having been transferred there by the freight company. Sullivan would continue to play a role in the Fairbanks community for years to come. He is listed as one of the original incorporators of Mt. McKinley Bank, founded in 1965.

In 1964, Sullivan was appointed to the Alaska House of Representatives to fill a vacancy created by the appointment of Representative William H. Sanders to the Alaska Superior Court. In 1965 he was elected to the Anchorage City Council, and in 1967, he was elected mayor of Anchorage.[citation needed]

In 1975, the Greater Anchorage Area Borough unified with the City of Anchorage and several smaller cities to become the Municipality of Anchorage. Sullivan, the city mayor, defeated Jack Roderick, the borough mayor to become mayor of the new city government. Sullivan fulfilled the maximum two terms mandated by the municipal charter, handing over the reins to Tony Knowles on January 1, 1982.[citation needed]

In 1976, he vetoed an anti-discrimination bill extending protection to sexual orientation. This became a campaign issue in the 1978 mayoral race, where he successfully defended his seat against challenger Dave Rose. In 1979, he invited Pope John Paul II to visit Anchorage. On February 26, 1981, the pope visited the city.[citation needed]

Toward the end of the 1970s, he proposed what he called "Project 80s", a campaign of beautification and preservation of historic sites. After his lengthy tenure as mayor, Sullivan served as the senior vice president of Western Airlines.[citation needed]


The Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, constructed in 1983 as a part of Project 80s, was named in his honor.[citation needed]

Margaret Eagan Sullivan Park, located at the northern end of Spenard Road where it crosses Chester Creek, was named for Sullivan's wife.

Marc Marlow, an Anchorage electrical contractor turned real estate developer, began an ambitious urban renewal project in the northeastern corner of downtown Anchorage. The centerpiece of the project was the rebuilding of the McKinley Tower, constructed in the early 1950s and abandoned in 1984. Adjacent to that building, Marlow constructed an assisted living facility and named it the George M. Sullivan House.[citation needed]

Personal life

He married Margaret Eagan Sullivan, the youngest daughter of Daniel and Isabelle Eagan of Fairbanks. Together, they had nine children, including Anchorage Mayor Dan Sullivan, and daughter Colleen Sullivan-Leonard, who served two terms in the Alaska House, 2017 through 2021.[citation needed] Sullivan died from complications from lung cancer on September 23, 2009.[citation needed] He was preceded in death by his wife, Margaret, and their son, Harvey (1996), and followed by their sons, Michael (2018) and George, Jr.(2020).[1]


  1. ^ George M. Sullivan, Jr., Anchorage Daily News, April 20, 2020. Retrieved July 2, 2021.

External links

Preceded by
Elmer E. Rasmuson
Mayor of Anchorage
Succeeded by
Tony Knowles
This page was last edited on 4 July 2021, at 16:53
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