Joanna Sullivan, who helped open one of the largest grocery stores in the state, died Wednesday. She was 94 years old.
Sullivan opened Foodland on May 6, 1948, with her late husband, Maurice J. “Sully” Sullivan.
She even gave the store its name. “I wanted a name that would tell people exactly what we offered,” she recalled on the company’s 65th anniversary in 2013. “It was going to be a place with lots of food — more than they had ever seen in one store — so the name Foodland seemed to make a lot of sense.”
As the company expanded, the Sullivans became more involved in the community. Joanna Sullivan funding many scholarships and made sizable donations, including to St. Francis Cardiac Care Center, the Cancer Research Center of Hawaii, Ronald McDonald House and Queen’s Medical Center West Oahu.
She was named Philanthropist of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Honolulu Chapter in 2008 and 2013.
She is survived by her four children, Kitty Sullivan Wo, Jenai Sullivan Wall, Colleen Sullivan, and Patrick Sullivan, and five grandchildren, Marisa Wo Azevedo, Liza Wo Davis, Emma Wo, and Alana and Eamon Wall.
A memorial service is set for Sunday, Oct. 4. Click here for more information.
The Sullivan Family of Companies includes Hawaii’s largest grocery retailer with 32 Foodland and Sack N Save stores statewide, as well as more than 150 retail stores across nine states and 4,000 employees.