Southborough – Michelle M. (Greer) Sullivan, 70, of Southborough, passed away Thursday, March 15, 2018 at MetroWest Medical Center in Framingham after an illness. She was the beloved wife of Paul L. Sullivan for the past 32 years.
Michelle grew up in Boston and moved to Southborough when she married Paul. The doctors told Paul and Michelle they would be unable to have children. The experts couldn’t have been more wrong. On the mantel of their home sit pictures of the 23 children they have had since 1985; boys and girls, large and small, black, white and Hispanic. In 1991, the Sullivans were lauded as “outstanding foster parents” by the Massachusetts Association for Professional Foster Care.
Michelle said “Our basic philosophy is that every child needs a family and if they need us, here we are! We ‘ll take anybody, we have never turned anyone down.”
The Sullivans heard about the opportunity to care for abused and neglected children in 1985. Within two weeks, Michelle quit her job of 18 years as a supervisor for Gillette.
“Physically, we can take six into our home, but logically 25 is our limit,” said Paul.
The Sullivans said that foster parenting is a challenge, especially when caring for children of different ethnic backgrounds.
Michelle said, “Society has biases and I expect hurt will come, but we make our home, a nest and it will be their safe haven.”
The children who stay with the Sullivans must each do their chores and adhere to the rules of the house.
“Children need and want rules. It’s hard at first, but as soon as they gain our trust things are fine,’ said Michelle.
Michelle and Paul aren’t ones to take much credit for the children they have helped though. Rather they talk about the perseverance of foster children in general.
“It must be terrible for them, I can’t imagine,” said Michelle. “We always tell them how strong they are.”
She was a member of St. Matthew Church of Southborough and basically had no time of any other hobbies other than making her home a loving place for children to live.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by her sons, Michael of Southborough, Robert of Michigan, Brandon of Florida, and Patrick and Matthew of Southborough; a brother, Garry Greer and his wife Beth of Massachusetts; and two nephews, Joseph and Michael. She was predeceased by her parents, Florence (Patenaude) and Herbert Greer, and a brother, Frank Greer.
All services are private, and burial will be in Southborough Rural Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be sent in her memory to MetroWest Homecare and Hospice, 200 Nickerson Rd., #110, Marlborough, MA 01752.
To leave words of condolence to the family, please visit www.morrisfuneralparlor.com.