Edna O'Sullivan

  • Born: September 3, 1942
  • Died: July 3, 2021
  • Location: Durham, New Hampshire

Cremation Society of New Hampshire

861 Lafayette Rd.
Hampton, NH 03842


Tribute & Message From The Family

Mother, Wife, and Counselor

Message From The Family

Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Edna by adding your memories and photos.

Edna White O'Sullivan, a resident of Riverwoods, Durham, passed away on July 3, 2021, following a two-year struggle with cancer. The youngest of ten children, she was born September 3, 1942, in Eccles, West Virginia. In 1960 she graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in Beckley, West Virginia, and was awarded a March of Dimes Scholarship to attend the University of Maryland. There she studied Physical Therapy, earning her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1964.

Upon graduation, Edna joined the Peace Corps, providing specialized physical therapy to patients with leprosy, alongside other physical and emotional complications, at the Bolivian National Leprosarium in Los Negros, Bolivia. While there she met her future husband, Michael O'Sullivan, a fellow Peace Corps volunteer. In 1967, they married in a simple ceremony in Jackson, Mississippi.

Edna pursued her work as a physical therapist at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson and later at the Children's Hospital of San Francisco, while Michael attended UC Berkeley. While living in the SF Bay Area, Edna and Michael joyfully adopted their son Jonathan. She also studied early music at Santa Clara Community College and performed with the Stanford University Recorder Orchestra.

Edna and Michael returned to the East Coast in 1979, settling in Madbury, New Hampshire. She and Michael were delighted to adopt their daughter Anna in 1982.

While raising their family, Edna earned an advanced degree in Counseling from the University of New Hampshire and established a long-lasting private counseling practice in Portsmouth--Market Square Counseling.

Edna had broad and varied interests. She loved living in Madbury and the Seacoast, enjoying her neighbors and friends, the area's historical sites and most of all, the remarkable sense of community engendered by the people. She designed, supervised, and managed two major additions to their house, as well as numerous remodeling projects. She avidly gardened, watched the birds and other wildlife that frequented the yard, produced remarkable artistic renderings, and wrote many, many poems. She loved cooking and prepared many unique meals for family and friends. She read avidly and served for several years on the Board of Trustees of the Madbury Public Library.

Edna was an energetic and much-loved member of the Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, establishing and sustaining many of its activities and special projects. She was also an avid supporter of Seacoast Family Promise, providing, for many years, resident families with fresh coffee, bagels, and assorted breads she solicited as charitable donations from local businesses.

She is survived by her husband of 54 years Michael, her son Jonathan of Brewster, MA and his partner Meredith Reilly, her daughter Anna and her spouse Cassandra O'Sullivan of Rochester, NH, her sisters Hope of El Cajon, CA, June and Alma of Parkview/Baltimore, MD and nieces, grand-nieces, nephews, and grand-nephews too numerous to count.

If you wish to honor Edna's memory, we ask you to please donate to Seacoast Family Promise, the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, the RiverWoods Durham Employee Appreciation Fund or perform acts of kindness and caring in her memory. Her ashes will be scattered in the Memorial Garden at the Madbury Cemetery. A Memorial Service is planned for September 25, 2021 at 1:30PM at the Durham Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, 20 Madbury Road, Durham, NH 03824.

Assisting the family with arrangements is the Cremation Society of New Hampshire, Hampton. To view Edna's Online Tribute, send condolences to the family, or for more information, visit www.csnh.com.