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DI Ontario Founding Member Richard Sullivan Passes Away

DI Ontario Founding Member Richard Sullivan Passes Away

Hello DI Community,

It is with great sadness that I announce the passing of one of our organization’s founding members, Richard Sullivan. I had the pleasure of meeting Richard back in 1991 when, as a Grade 3 student, I traveled to Knoxville, Tennessee with his son JJ, to compete in the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. We were the only two GTA teams to travel down to a global finals in an organization that had 30 memberships in Ontario. That trip hooked Richard and he was a fixture in the community for years to come.

In 1999, a group of people broke away from the organization to form a new, non-profit creative problem solving organization called Destination Imagination. Richard was at the forefront both in Ontario as Affiliate Director, and at the global level, as an Executive Board Member for Destination Imagination, Inc. He was a true philanthropist, giving generous amounts of time to promote, grow, and stabilize the program in Ontario. He leveraged his relationships with such organizations as the TCDSB, where he volunteered extensively, and Deloitte and Touche where he worked, to ensure the program had the finances and facilities to run what has been an annual event for the past 19 years. During his time the program prospered in multiple boards and reached well over 100 teams.

At the last DI tournament Richard was at 10 years ago, I had the opportunity to award him with the coveted Spirit of DI award, an award that recognizes those who demonstrate outstanding and extraordinary levels of spirit, those whose sacrifices are not for themselves but for others. I remember him telling me at the time that he was extremely proud to receive the award and honoured to be recognized by the community that he cared so deeply about. Although he stepped away from the program after that tournament, he remained an observer from a distance, reaching out on occasion to provide moral support and guidance if needed.

To Richard’s family, thank you for the considerable amount of time your father gave to our organization. We would not be here today without him.


Michael Vitullo

Co-Affiliate Director, Destination Imagination Ontario

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