by LYDIA COBB | photos by Spark Photography

Giving Back

Kurt Sullivan finds personal growth in volunteerism. “It never takes long when sitting in church to hear of needs and opportunities for involvement,” explained Kurt. “On a few such needs, I decided to inquire and say yes.”

He has been teaching religious education to middle schoolers at St. Gregory the Great Catholic Church for eighteen years. With his wife, son, and daughter, he’s involved in the production of the church’s annual Christmas play, free to all and considered by many as a meaningful moment in the season. (The 2015 Christmas play is Dec. 12.)

This community volunteer and professional once was a flight instructor and charter pilot. “I am still fascinated by airplanes,” revealed Kurt. “When an aircraft is flying or idle on the ground, I tend to be easily distracted, gazing, and thinking ‘hmmm, wouldn’t it be nice’.”

Grounded but staying ahead, Kurt finds success even in difficult times. He wasn’t able to complete college when his father was nearly killed in a Washington, D.C. mugging years ago. So Kurt left school midway to run the family business. One of his closest friendships evolved through business. “I had come to realize I was a better property manager than I was a sign company owner,” shared Kurt. He sold his business to Paul Jester, remaining friends who play tennis together weekly. Kurt is now vice president of property management at Douglas Allred.


On Sundays, with his wife of twenty-nine years, Debbie, Kurt heads to Bruegger’s Bagels in the marketplace with Spencer, their Golden Retriever. Debbie is a professional costumer for high school, college, and community theatre. Their son, Michael, is a senior writer at UC San Diego. Kurt and Michael have played a decade together in league ice hockey. Kurt shared, “I get to be on the same line with him as the puck drops.” Daughter Stephanie and her husband James Cook live in Oahu, where they manage military housing at Schofield Barracks Army Base.

The Sullivans have lived in the ranch for nearly twenty years. They’re on the north side of Spring Canyon Road with a view to Palomar Mountain. “That view is a terrific means of preserving sanity, as something to enjoy, in the midst of the demands of a busy life,” offered Kurt. He’s not too busy to set aside time for giving back. At St. Gregory the Great, his and the family’s talents have long been admired.


Name: Kurt Sullivan
Community: Scripps Ranch
Volunteer Affiliation: St. Gregory the Great – religious education teacher, choir instrumentalist, altar server
Profession: Vice President, Property Management for Douglas Allred Company
Family: Wife – Debbie; Son – Michael; Daughter – Stephanie (Cook);
Son-in-Law – James Cook; Spencer – a Golden Retriever
Hobbies: Airplanes, ice hockey, tennis