Beloved Chapin educator’s battle with cancer comes to an end, funeral plans announced
W.F. Sullivan taught math at Chapin High School for 46 consecutive years. Many students who did not have Sullivan as a teacher knew him as a coach for football, girls’ basketball, or even helping with the jazz band. He was known for playing his trombone at many pep rallies over the years.
He retired in 2016, although he still worked part time teaching SAT and ACT preparation classes with coworker, Tim Anderson. Many said Sullivan was “born to teach,” and “changed the lives of all the students he taught.”
Approximately two years after he retired, Sullivan was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and began aggressive chemotherapy treatments. The tumors began to shrink, but the cancer spread to his lymph nodes, and then to his bones.
The town of Chapin held a fundraiser for Sullivan in June, bringing together nearly one thousand of his past students and coworkers. Although he was undergoing chemo treatments during the month of the fundraiser, he was able to attend, and spoke to the crowd from the stage. He thanked everyone “from the bottom of his heart” for coming out. “I just love y’all to death, and I can never thank you enough,” he said at the end of his speech. Everyone in the crowd could be heard laughing as he told dozens of comical stories from his years spent at Chapin.
Despite his continuous positivity, the cancer progressed in Sullivan’s body and over the past few weeks his health declined rapidly. Early Monday morning, Sullivan passed away at Baptist Parkridge Hospital, after being transported Sunday afternoon.
Members of a Facebook group created for Sullivan called “Team #Doin it for WF” have shared their sentiments and sympathy for Sullivan’s wife Vera, and family:
“The passion that you have is unmatchable. When you talked about a former student or a player you would speak from the heart.”
“No truer testament to the impact of a man than the outpouring of love and remembrances on this page. Coach impacted my life for the better along with everyone who had the opportunity to know him.”
“Coach Sullivan or as I called him Mr W.F. was one of the best human beings I have ever known. I had the pleasure of being his neighbor for 30 years.”
“Even in Coach Sullivan’s final days, hours, and minutes he was still showing his love and compassion for everyone that knew him. His legacy will live on forever.”
His visitation will be held Friday, at Caughman-Harman Funeral Home in Chapin (123 Columbia Ave.), from 5 to 8 p.m. A memorial service for Sullivan will be held Saturday at Chapin High School, at 10 a.m., followed by the burial at Oak Ridge Cemetery (219 N. Cook St.) in Bennettsville at 3 p.m.