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.


Condolence & Memory Journal

It was a privilege to know Edna. Though I had known her for years, I got to know her better through our Madbury Library, when she served as Chair of our Library Board of Trustees, and as we both served on the Fund Raising Committee for our lovely new library facility. Edna was key to several grants that our Friends group received. She was also an insightful member of our library Book Group and always had a unique and thoughtful perspective on the books we read, often encouraging us to include poetry in our readings. Her poems and artwork were also beautiful and inspiring. We miss her. Sincere condolences to Michael, Jonathan and Anna.

Posted by Joan Valentine - Madbury, NH   September 24, 2021

Edna was such a wonderful woman. She was kind, humble, and always willing to help in any way. She delivered donated coffee and pastries to Seacoast Family Promise for many years. Didn't have to ask, she was just enjoying helping out families with children experiencing homelessness. Rest in the Lord's arms now Edna. Well done my friend.

Posted by PATI WATERS    July 17, 2021

I hired Edna years ago; she was recommended by a friend. I needed help in dealing with some crazy life circumstances. She was an angel to me at that juncture. I just noticed her name and have, sadly, read her obit to discover some formerly unknown connections like West Virginia and poetry. I knew nothing of her as I poured my heart out to her. I am forever grateful to her for gently coaching me to spread my wings and fly, and for her wise and very caring spirit. I will never forget her and will ever be grateful for her assistance to my life. Rest in peace, dear Edna White O'Sullivan. Condolences to your family and friends. Bonnie WInona

Posted by Bonnie Winona - Nottingham, NH - Acquaintance   July 15, 2021

I thought the world of Edna; and I am very saddened to learn of her passing.

My best wishes go to her family members and close friends.

Posted by Steve Alie - Other   July 14, 2021

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