Alice F. Sullivan was born August 27, 1921 in Boston, the daughter of Charles Francis Sullivan and Johanna Sullivan. Her mother died in 1928. Raised in Rye by her father and his second wife, Cecile Cote Sullivan, she attended Milton Elementary School and Resurrection School.
She graduated from Rye High School in 1940 and then from Berkeley School in New York City. In Rye her family lived at 47 Wainwright St.
She enlisted and served in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
Alice Sullivan was one of only a few picked out of 300 women to qualify. She became a Storekeeper 1st Class in the U. S. Navy WAVES unit, and was stationed at St. Louis Air Force Base at Lambert Field.
Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service “WAVES” was the US Naval Reserve Women’s branch established on July 21, 1942. The branch was established to replace men stationed ashore to provide more sea duty sailors and officers. By the end of 1942, there were 770 WAVES Officers and 3,109 enlisted. By 1945 these numbers had grown to 8,475 officers and 73,816 enlisted.
In 1945, Alice was honorably discharged and returned home to Rye.
She met her future husband at Playland Ice Casino, recalled her daughter, Robin Phelps Latimer.
''At age 14, young Charlie Phelps was skating around the rink and saw Alice Sullivan doing the same. They were both good skaters. My father later became a Playland Skate Guard. Charlie caught up to Alice and stole her hat. The chase was on. Alice did catch him on the ice, and got her hat back. That was their first meeting.
They started dating in high school.
''When World War II broke out, without telling one another, they each enlisted in the Navy. Needless to say, my mother's parents were not pleased when she returned from the city having joined the military without their permission,'' said Ms. Latimer.
Alice Sullivan was one of only a few picked out of 300 women to qualify. She became a Storekeeper 1st Class in the U.S. Navy WAVES unit, and was stationed at St. Louis Air Force Base at Lambert Field.
In 1945, she was honorably discharged and returned home to Rye.
Charles Phelps returned from the Pacific around the same time; they reconnected and they were married on October 22, 1946.
Alice was a communicant at Church of the Resurrection, and was active in many local organizations, including the Midland PTO, the Resurrection Family Mass
Folk Group, the Rye Fire Department Ladies Auxiliary, and the American Legion Post 128, where she served as adjutant, the first female Legion officer of that Post.
For 20 years, Alice worked for Dr. John Finnegan, DDS as a receptionist in his offices in Blind Brook Lodge, and was well known by the many patients who
lived throughout the area.
She was a regular presence each year at the patriotic services held on Memorial Day and Veterans Day on the Village Green, selling poppies to benefit the Legion Auxiliary programs.
''My mother was very proud to serve God and her country and did both very well,'' said Ms. Latimer. ''She never judged people and loved being with her family and friends. She cared deeply about those she loved and never said a bad word about anyone.''
Alice Frances Sullivan Phelps, a Rye resident for over 85 years, died July 22, 2012 one month short of her 91st birthday. Her husband Charles. Phelps, a Rye firefighter, passed away in 1978.
At the time of her death, in addition to her daughter, Robin, and son-in-law, Assemblyman George Latimer, Alice was survived by her granddaughter, Meagan Sullivan Latimer. A funeral mass was held July 26 2012 at Church of the Resurrection.