Bill Sullivan – farewell to a giant

Bill SullivanMike Bucayu of First Quality Musical Supply in Louisville, KY has announced that Bill Sullivan, who founded the company nearly 40 years ago, passed away this afternoon. Anyone who plays bluegrass music – at any level – has quite probably done business with First Quality. They have been strong supporters of bluegrass artists, events and education since the company became a full time venture for Bill and his sons, Eric and Jeff in 1982.

Here is what Mike posted over at The Banjo Hangout:

It saddens us to bring the news of the loss of Bill Sullivan early this afternoon. He was surrounded by his family and close friends at the time of his passing. He will be dearly missed by so many, although his legacy will continue on through his contributions to the banjo world.

Please keep the Sullivans in your thoughts and prayers.

You can read how Bill described the history of First Quality on their web site.

Especially in the banjo world, Bill was a giant, and he will be sorely missed both personally and professionally. Bluegrass Today extends our condolences to both the Sullivan and First Quality families.

UPDATE 9/24: Jeff Sullivan has posted the following at The Banjo Hangout:

For those of you who posted on thread not knowing he was sick, he was not. He was sharp [as] a tack and was so much looking forward to seeing all his friends at this years IBMA. He was working weekends leading up to this event with so much excitement to show and introduce the new line of Sullivan Banjos and the new break throughs that he and Eric have been working on over the last two years. He was down here yesterday working with Eric and I, what a wonderful day. Last night in the early evening, he had a rupture of one of the blood vessels in his brain. The bleeding could not be stopped in time to save his life, he passed early today with his family by his side in peace and with no pain.

UPDATE 9/25: Bill’s obituary appeared in this morning’s edition of the Louisville Courier-Journal. It includes information about funeral arrangements:

Funeral services will be held 7 p.m. Wednesday at Heady- Hardy Funeral Home, 7710 Dixie Hwy., with a graveside service 11 a.m. Thursday at Resthaven Memorial Park. Visitation will be from 11 a.m. until time of funeral service Wednesday. In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Crusade for Children through the Pleasure Ridge Park Volunteer Fire Department, Station 3, 8506 Terry Road, Louisville, KY 40258.

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John Lawless

John had served as primary author and editor for The Bluegrass Blog from its launch in 2006 until being folded into Bluegrass Today in September of 2011. He continues in that capacity here, managing a strong team of columnists and correspondents.