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Margaret A. Sullivan


Saturday, January 12, 2019

HANOVER, NH — Margaret Allen Sullivan, “Peggy,” passed away on January 9, 2019, at the age of 89 years.

She was born on April 8th, 1929, in Bristol, Connecticut to Harry “Hap” Henderson and Elizabeth “Betty” Newton. In her teenage years she spent summers in a small cottage on Lake Champlain, “Cedar Ledges,” and enjoyed playing tennis on the clay court they built and maintained on Long Point. She majored in theater at Tufts University-her theatrical flare never left her.

In 1953, she married Denis Gartland Sullivan, who had recently been discharged from the Army. They lived in Lakewood, Ohio, then spent a number of years in Illinois, where her husband earned his MA and PhD in Political Science. They had three sons, Kevin, Marc, and David. They spent a year in Palo Alto, California, before moving to Norwich, Vermont, where he was a professor at Dartmouth College. They acquired a 1700’s farmhouse and a substantial amount of land, which is now held by the Vermont Land Trust and used by Hogwash farms.

In her 40’s Peggy earned an MA in Art History at the University of Massachusetts, specializing in the satirists of the Northern Renaissance, particularly Bruegel and Bosch. When Denis took a sabbatical they chose Vienna, Austria, because it has the largest concentration of Bruegel paintings in the world. On their return Peggy designed and renovated the barn on their property into a home. During later years, the couple spent much of their time traveling in Europe to look at paintings related to her research, and for one year she was a visiting lecturer at Montana State University in Bozeman. Peggy published numerous scholarly articles and two books on Bruegel, which dramatically altered our understanding of Bruegel and the period. Her work as an independent scholar initiated a paradigm shift in the way this artist is now seen.

She relished summers in Maine in a cottage the couple rented on Swan’s Island. When Denis’ dementia became debilitating they entered Kendal at Hanover, where Peggy was known for her keen intellect, biting wit, and fierce, left-handed smashes during weekly ping pong games.

Peggy was preceded in death by her brother Bob and her husband Denis. She is survived by her sister, Ann, her sons Kevin, Marc, and David, and her five grandchildren: Logan, Lauren, Zachary, Jules, and Mina.

The family will have a private celebration of life this Summer.

Memorial donations in memory of Peggy can be made to the National Osteoporosis Foundation.