Carolee Frieda( Schiller) Sullivan of Franklin born in Baltimore, MD to her parents Walter and Isabella Schiller, Carolee was a warm, caring and loving person. She would always be found with a smile or laugh and a kind word for anyone she would meet. She lived an entire generation with love for her family, building on her passions and enjoying times with her friends. From her marriage of 40 years to her beloved husband to continuous visits with her children, grandkids, great-grandkids and friends to building on her passions as an artist, nature and wildlife, Carolee lived a wonderful, blessed life.
Carolee grew up with a strong sense of family values. She and her sister, Phyllis, were best friends who could not wait for their Dad to return from his long missions away at sea as Chief Engineer of his ship for eight years. When her Dad was sadly lost at sea at the onset of WW2, Carolee’s life would change forever. Carolee loved her Dad more than anyone in the world. This defining moment, a terrible loss in her adolescence, would forge her strength at an early age. Being raised by a single parent, Carolee became very independent, determined and self-sufficient while finding her passions for art, painting, music, theatre and dance. Her Mom, “Mee Mee”, was a woman of great faith and hard work ethic, who gave Carolee much love and introduced her to piano, music and art. Mee Mee made three trips with her daughters from New York City to Edinburgh, Scotland on the Queen Elizabeth II and on the Caronia to visit her aunts and uncles and find support from the Schiller family during our country’s Great Depression. Carolee shared many wonderful stories of living in a thatched roofed home surrounded by farms and nature and enjoying time with her sister, cousins, aunts and uncles.
When Carolee turned 17, she left her home in Baltimore and headed for the Big Apple, where she shared an apartment with Ruthie, her new friend who she wrote to and stayed in touch with through letters and cards. In New York City, Carolee was very resilient doing whatever it took to survive. She became a fashion model while working as an administrative assistant. At times she would work three jobs until she found a job with IBM that she was very proud of. With IBM, she was one of the first to work with “key-punch”, which was the beginning of automaton. Returning to Baltimore at the age of 21, Carolee met Paul F. Sullivan, who was from Boston and on assignment in Baltimore after his service in WW2. Carolee married Paul, who became her entire world and the love of her life. Together, they started a family and had two sons, Paul and Tom. They moved to Massachusetts and Maine to help run a Sullivan family business. Their times were met with a lot of hard work and sometimes great adversities, yet they pushed through together in support of one another while often working multiple jobs. They lived a very happy life, settling first in Medfield then in Franklin. Carolee was a proud American with great love for her country and the American dream, which she lived well.
Carolee would live fifty years in Franklin on 1 Bettencourt, a home she loved, filled with warm memories of laughter. Paul and Carolee would cherish times spent with their family. Carolee would enjoy gardening, birds and wildlife, golf with friends, painting, always creating something, handwriting analysis, and sharing of herself. She enjoyed wonderful long drives and vacations with the family to Atlanta, Ocean City (MD), and Florida to see her sister. She would enjoy the simple things: a weekend in Maine or New England with her husband Paul, swinging in her swing in the backyard, a visit from a friend or family member, the holidays, a good book to read, a painting to paint, a good dinner. After she lost her husband Paul in 1991, Carolee’s resilience reappeared. She would spend the rest of her life feeling blessed and surrounded by her family. Her close friends Frankie, Ellie and Mary kept her going – out to Walmart, off to the Cape, out to eat – and she was so grateful for loving friends. Her niece, Dorothy, became her pen pal and close friend and together they would share artwork and conversation.
If you knew Carolee, you knew love. All she ever wanted was for everyone around her to be happy and healthy. She was very grateful in every phase of her life. In her final years in Senior Living, Carolee thrived creating some of her best artwork and developing many friends. She was very content living with almost nothing but the necessities. In her last year, an extremely difficult one, she never complained and always smiled and found a way to adapt by focusing on her caregivers. She thanked all her caregivers and had kind words for everyone. Carolee’s last words to her sons were that she loved them.
Carolee exited this world on February 21, 2021, surrounded by love and will be forever missed and never forgotten. Carolee leaves behind her son Paul, daughter-in-law Maria of Franklin, grandsons PJ, Michael, and Patrick, and her son Thomas, daughter-in-law Susan of Wrentham, granddaughters and their husbands Tina and Ezra McCarthy, Kate and Matt Macleay, Kara and Pete Tramontozzi, and great-grandchildren Sully, Gwenny, Wendy, Henry, and Claire.
A service is planned for Wednesday, March 3 and will be held privately. There will be a Celebration of Carolee’s Life in the future, when it is safe for us all to gather. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the employee emergency assistance fund at Mt. Saint Rita’s Healthcare, who served Carolee well beyond words during her most difficult time. Here is link to MSR’s online giving page. Also mailing address below. mountstrita.org/donate
Mount St. Rita
15 Summer Brown Rd.
Cumberland, RI 02864
Arrangements are under the care of the Ginley Funeral Home of Franklin (www.ginleyfuneralhomes.com).