John Breckinridge O'Sullivan, Johnny Bear to his family, Yanik to his father, and Sully to his friends, died on Thursday, May 18th, 2023, a life tragically cut short by the vicious scourge of opiate addiction. An unrelenting, seesawing, decade-long battle, earnestly and valiantly fought, was lost to that insidious foe.
John was born on a hot and muggy Houston day on September 8th, 1991, the second of three sons. For much of his early life, John spent his time annoying older brother Nick and engaging in mischievous antics with his younger brother Cameron. His favorite pastimes included swimming, for which he won many accolades, trips to Lake McQueeney and Pirates Beach, and any kind of adventure. John entered St. John's School in the 6th grade, proudly graduating in 2010. John matriculated at the University of Georgia, joined Lambda Chi fraternity, and graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in 2014. A varied career path followed, with stints in equity research, private equity, and commercial real estate.
John will be best remembered for a heart that was as big as his smile, his engaging charm, and his lanky 6' 4" frame. He was an oversized teddy bear, gentle and affable, disgruntled only if made to vacate a cozy bed too early or a hot shower if less than 30 minutes long. John was a voracious reader, and he loved family gatherings, board games, debating politics at the dinner table, and provoking his sister-in-law Kim, a pastime that he found particularly satisfying. John's humor and pranks, warm presence, and endearing disposition will be sorely missed.
While living in Colorado over the last few years, John developed an interest in skiing, golf, and hiking, activities that helped to mitigate the daily challenges of his recovery. In the final year of his life, John met and fell in love with Ashley Lamphere. Her empathetic and understanding nature is beautiful to behold, and she was a true gift to John. Most recently, John was so excited about joining his family on a trip to Portugal and his success in acquiring a great new job. Even with all these stars lined up, the disease of addiction intervened.
John was enveloped by love and encouragement, yet the torment of isolation, shame, and despair conspired time and again to undercut promising prospects for recovery. John so desperately sought a release from its diabolical clutch, and he prayed for liberation. There were times of hope, times with joy and laughter, and times with an emerging anticipation of reclamation. It was not to be. John's death is a tragedy. It is his family's hope that other families that suffer from this dreadful affliction speak openly of it to help friends and strangers alike, and to overcome the stigma of addiction.
John is survived by his parents, Chris and Vivie, his brothers and sisters-in-law, Nick and Kim and Cameron and Camilla, his grandmother, Letty Knapp, his niece Margaret Anne, and his many uncles, aunts, and cousins.
A memorial service for John will be held at eleven o'clock in the morning on Thursday, June 1st, 2023, at St. John the Divine Episcopal Church, 2450 River Oaks Blvd., with the Reverend James M. L. Grace officiating. Reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in John's memory may be directed to Jaywalker Lodge, 811 Main Ct., Carbondale, CO 81623.