Love of learning and creativity

MELROSE — Remembering Judith Quinn Sullivan, known fondly as Judi, is an honor because of all the wonderful things she accomplished in her lifetime. Born in Hagerstown, MD, but truly raised in Mercersburg, PA, Judi held her roots close to her heart, nestled among the Tuscarora Hills. Her parents, Joan and John “Jay” Quinn, instilled in her a love for learning and a passion for preserving history.

Judi’s educational journey took her through Mercersburg Academy where her father taught, to Trinity College in Washington D.C. for her bachelor’s degree in Art History, then on to the University of Delaware for her Masters. She didn’t stop there, pursuing a second Masters in Education from Lesley College in Cambridge. Her love for learning was matched only by her desire to share it.

Judi entered the workforce with the Air and Space Museum at the Smithsonian, Washington, D.C. Her career as an architectural historian with the National Park Service was more than a job; it was her calling. Judi dedicated herself to researching, evaluating and restoring historical structures along the East Coast. Judi had a unique passion for uncovering the personal stories behind historic sites such as the “Revolutionary Battle Road” park in Lexington/Concord. Judi didn’t just see bricks and mortar; she saw these structures as vessels of history, carrying the memories and lives of the people who inhabited them. She wasn’t one to shy away from hard work, often found with a deed in one hand and a hard hat in the other, working alongside construction crews to preserve our nation’s cultural treasures.

Melrose became her cherished home, where she immersed herself in community service. Whether it was serving on the Historic District Commission or advocating fiercely for preserving Melrose’s historical and architectural uniqueness, Judi was always at the forefront. Her devotion extended to St. Mary’s Church and School where she served as a Eucharistic Minister, organized initiatives like first communion dress drives for families in need and editing the school newsletter. At the end of her working career, she enjoyed her time at the Melrose Public Library with the ‘book crew’.

Judi was a creative and loving mother who delighted in planning imaginative birthday parties for her children, complete with elaborate themes like fierce dragons, medieval knights and local monsters. Her passion for creativity extended to her love for themes such as Monet painting, colonial butter churning and kids tea parties, as well as camping and monkey-themed celebrations with banana splits. Never missing the small details, even the invitations were planned to fit the theme: for a science party it came in a test tube and for an art party it was an artist’s pallet.

Beyond party planning, Judi was an avid reader with her book club pals, who could finish a book in just two days. She had a deep appreciation for museums and historical houses, often knowing more than the guides themselves. She enjoyed antique crafts like card making and building toys for her children. She was the magic of any holiday season, decorating thoughtfully with attention to detail and always having hand-made cards ready for loved ones.

Despite her busy schedule, Judi never missed any of her children’s ice hockey games, showing her unwavering support for her family’s activities. She also had a love for sangria, polka dots, the Boston Bruins and indulging in treats like apple pie and peppermint stick flavored ice cream. Her passion for life’s joys and thoughtful gestures made her a cherished presence in her family and community.

Judi’s legacy of kindness and dedication lives on through her family: her husband Christopher J. Sullivan; her son Christopher J. Sullivan Jr.; and her daughters Molly Q. Sullivan and Rowan M. Sullivan of Melrose. Judi will forever be in the hearts of her sister Ann Angel; niece Isabelle; nephews Connor, Griffin and sister Ruth Quinn; nieces Clare and Olivia of Baltimore, MD; and her brother John L. Quinn; nephews John Lewis and Owen of Alexandria, VA; sister in law Lynn Moran; nieces Marguerite Moran and Katia Moran of Bristol, RI; nephew Tito Pena of Washington, DC; sister in law Abigail Moore; nephew Carlos Moore of West Hartford, CT; nephew Jack Moore of NYC, NY; brother in law James M. Sullivan; nephew James M. Sullivan, Jr.; and niece Hope Sullivan of Arlington, VA.

Judi may have left us after her long battle with cancer, but her impact on her community and the hearts she touched will remain forever.

To honor her memory, in lieu of flowers or gifts, the family requested that donations to be made in her name to St. Mary’s of the Annunciation School in Melrose or the Fendrick Library in Mercersburg, PA. A wake was held in her honor at the Gately Funeral Home, 79 West Foster St., Melrose on Thursday, April 18 from 4 to 7 p.m. A funeral mass will be held at Saint Mary’s of the Annunciation Church, 4 Herbert St., Melrose on Friday, April 19 at 10 a.m. Interment will be in Lakeside Cemetery in Wakefield. Visit