James Michael Sullivan

June 24, 2022

CHARLOTTE - James Michael Sullivan, 67, loving husband and father, passed away peacefully on Friday, June 24, 2022 with family by his side after a courageous and hard-fought battle with colon cancer.  Jim's strong faith in his Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was exemplified throughout his battle, and his smile was ever radiant during the difficult challenges he faced.   

Jim was the son of William Michael Sullivan and Doris Neve Sullivan, and was raised mostly in Bethesda, Maryland. After graduating from Walt Whitman High School in May 1972, he pursued his college studies at Hillsdale College in Michigan.  He graduated summa cum laude in May 1975, with a major in Economics and Business Administration.  Jim spent four terms teaching accounting, business and business law at an inner-city vocational school and worked fun jobs in Healy, Alaska (outside of Denali National Park) and at a cherry orchard on Flathead Lake, Montana (just south of Glacier National Park).

He matriculated on a fellowship in August 1976 at Georgetown University Law Center and graduated cum laude in May 1979.  Jim's first job as an attorney was in the Law Department of Marriott Corporation in Bethesda, Maryland.

In early 1981, Jim joined the staff of Senator John East's (R-N.C.) subcommittee of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. In the summer of 1983, he moved on to be Legislative Counsel for the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice.

On October 20, 1986, following a stint as a Special Assistant U.S. Attorney (SAUSA), Jim was sworn in before the District Court as a criminal AUSA for the Eastern District of Virginia where he served until the summer of 1988.

While at Main Justice, Jim had fallen in love with Chris Grubert, and they married in the fall of 1984.  The first of their four children (Tim) arrived in December of 1986 and their second (Johnny) arrived in June 1989. During that time, Jim joined a suburban law firm to practice in construction litigation. When the opportunity arose to join as civil AUSA in the Western District of North Carolina (WDNC), Jim and Chris and their growing family moved to Charlotte where their two daughters were born in 1993 (Julie) and 1996 (Tiffany).  Julie and Caleb Krautter married in September 2020, bringing a son-in-law into the family. 

Throughout the thirty-two years as an AUSA in the WDNC, Jim's civil litigation involved a diverse portfolio of cases, ranging from defense of employment discrimination suits, plus Bivens and other torts to bankruptcy, state court lien litigation, and a huge variety of other matters involving any number of varied Federal agencies.

With a strong sense of adventure and desire to travel, Jim led his family on many cross-country family trips and visited numerous national parks and historical sites across 35+ states.  Many trips were taken to visit extended family in Dallas, Texas and the Washington, D. C. area. 

Jim gave back to the community in a variety of ways, but most prominent to the legal community has been his role in the Federalist Society, an organization of members who believe and trust that individual citizens can make the best choices for themselves and society.  Jim enjoyed serving in the church, serving as Assistant Scoutmaster, meeting in a 20-year Bible study group, playing tennis, hiking, running, bicycling, swimming, traveling, and working in the yard.  His proudest achievements were being married to Chris and being parent to his wonderful children and son-in-law.  He was grateful to God for the many blessings enjoyed in life's journey.

Jim will be remembered by family and friends for his keen intelligence, unyielding integrity and honor, genuine goodness, fun-loving spirit, bright smile, and the great love and affection he felt for his family.   

Jim is survived by his wife of 37 years, Chris; his children, Tim Sullivan, Johnny Sullivan, Julie Krautter and her husband, Caleb and Tiffany Sullivan; his siblings, Amy Mannon and her husband, Bob, Bill Sullivan and Liz Sullivan.  Also surviving are his nieces, Emily Godinho and her husband, Alex and Caroline Mannon and his nephew, Will Mannon.

Funeral Services for Jim will be held at 11:00 AM on Friday, July 1, 2022 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, 101 Colville Road in Charlotte.  The family will receive friends at the church one hour prior to the service as well as a reception following the service.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be offered in memory of Jim to the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation Carolinas Chapter, 1100 S. Mint Street, Ste. 204, Charlotte, NC 28203 (https://www.crohnscolitisfoundation.org/chapters/carolinas) or Compassion International, 12290 Voyager Parkway, Colorado Springs, CO 80921 (https://www.compassion.com)  or a charitable organization of your choice.  Compassion International donations may be directed to the child’s family that Jim and Chris have sponsored named Nyandwi in Rwanda.  Please include his ID number RW072200394 on the check.   

Arrangements are in the care of Kenneth W. Poe Funeral & Cremation Service, 1321 Berkeley Ave., Charlotte, NC 28204; (704) 641-7606.   Online condolences may be shared at www.kennethpoeservices.com.

Share your memories & condolences


  • Mark Bardill

    I worked with Jim many years in connection with town and county tax foreclosures that involved federal liens. He was a fine person to deal with. Our best to his family. He will be missed.

    Mark D, Bardill
    Zacchaeus Legal Services

  • Maxine Seivwright

    Chris and family, please accept my deepest condolences. Please know that you are in my thoughts and prayers.

  • Leslie Lovell

    In January 1986, I was at a Hillsdale event on a yacht on the Potomac--a nominal Christian—and Jim Sullivan invited me to his church. I was at a low point, and I liked Jim and Chris, so the next day (hungover), I went to the Falls Church (Episcopal) where to my amazement, they prayed for the unborn. I started attending there, took Discovery classes (“Disco”), listened to John Yates preach, and came to know Jesus as my Lord and Savior. Thank you, Jim. Thank you, Jesus.

  • Barbara Grubert

    Jim was such an incredible brother-in-law and we will miss him dearly. He was so very kind and always wanted to help others and do the right thing. He was such a loving family member and truly loved the cared for us all. God bless him in eternal life and give peace and comfort to Chris, Tim, Johnny, Tiffany, Julie and Caleb. We love you all.

  • Michael Staley

    I worked with Jim in the USAO for several years. Jim was one of the kindest folks I ever came across. He always took an interest in his colleagues, both professionally and personally. He will be terribly missed. We will be thinking of the family during these difficult times. God Bless.

  • Donald Liou

    Please accept my humble condolences.

  • Karen Bradbury

    Chris and family, know that you all will be in our prayers through this difficult time. We were honored to know Jim and share many fond memories at the pool and on the tennis court. Peace and love to you all, The Bradbury family (Karen, Matt, Ginger, Heidi and Joel)