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CitySquare's Jerry Sullivan Was Devoted To Young Adults: 'Always A Listening Ear'

Jerry Sullivan, far right, worked with teens and homeless kids for two decades.

A foster care official who worked with countless Texas kids and young adults for two decades has died. Jerry Sullivan was only 44.

Wickedly funny, kind, and compassionate. That’s how young people at Dallas’ Transition Resource Action Center at CitySquare describe Jerry Sullivan. He ran a program there dedicated to young adults leaving foster care, says co-worker Madeline Reedy.

“Without fail, every last one of them,” she says, “in their own words, has told me that what Jerry provided for them, was a reminder of who they were, and who they could be when they forgot, and when they didn’t believe in themselves, and that is beautiful.”

Sullivan is a Plainview native who was awarded degrees from Texas Tech University, and the University of North Texas. His first job was in Arlington, teaching at the non-profit Fourth Street Project. Sullivan has helped hundreds of young people, including 24-year-old Dallas resident Cody Easlic.  

Credit TRAC, Madeline Reedy
Jerry Sullivan, 44, directed a Dallas program that assisted foster youths "aging out" of the system. He died from colon cancer.

  “Through any and everything, he was always a listening ear,” he says. “If I had any problems he would be right there. He would even be there financially sometimes when I was just going through something, and if I needed to borrow $20 to get to payday, he would be right there with no hesitation.”

Easlic has known Sullivan since he was four, just entering foster care with his two siblings. On a memorial website called Caring Bridge, he wrote: “There will never be a set of words to describe the impact you have had on my life.”

Many of the comments affectionately called Sullivan “Jerry Bean.” One woman wrote: “If it wasn't for Jerry and TRAC I would have been in a very dark place. He helped me see that there is still good in people.”

Jerry Sullivan died from colon cancer. His partner and husband, David Farrar, says a memorial service is planned for Saturday at 2 p.m., at Kessler Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. 

Doualy Xaykaothao is a newscaster and reporter for NPR, based in Culver City. She returned to NPR for this role in 2018, and is responsible for writing, producing, and delivering national newscasts. She also reports on breaking news stories for NPR.