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As a stay-at-home mom, Kathy Sullivan met someone with the last name Wyler who worked in radio. Years later, when Sullivan was launching her radio career, the station asked her if she wanted to have a different radio name.
And she chose Wyler.
Sullivan died on May 16, more than two decades after she retired following stints as a radio personality and news director at WDRC and WRCH. She was known as “Kathy Wyler” on the air, coming to radio after graduating from the Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
“She was just extremely warm,” said Rob Ray, who worked with Sullivan at WDRC. “If you had a problem and you just needed someone to talk to, Kathy was there for you to to lend an ear. And she was really funny. If you were having a bad day, she could say something or make a little joke and just brighten your day. She was really one of the most professional and wonderful people I’ve ever worked with.”
Former colleagues and loved ones described Sullivan’s laugh and joyous personality. A stay-at-home mom until her children were teenagers, Sullivan got into radio because a cab driver she was friends with happened to call into a radio show while Sullivan was in the backseat. She said something, and the operator immediately said she sounded like she had a great voice for radio.
That encouraged her to attend the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, said her daughter Lianne Boas.
“Just a fantastic laugh that would just attract anybody,” Boas said. “She laughed a lot in her public persona. But that was truly who she was. She was always keeping it light, always telling a funny story or helping us to laugh through the tears when things were down. She was just a great all around person.”
After retiring from radio, Sullivan taught at Briarwood College. She loved animals and was involved with numerous shelters and charities in Connecticut, Boas said. Sullivan initially grew up in Massachusetts but lived in East Hampton while she worked in radio, often spending time by Lake Pocotopaug with her family, Boas said.
“She was a great mentor and a great friend,” said Mike Stacy, a fellow radio host who worked with Sullivan at WRCH. “She always called me her little brother and I called her my big sister. We just had a blast together.”
Stacy, who worked with Sullivan and Allan Camp, remembered traveling to different places like Disney World and Universal Studios and also traveling to Tennessee for a UConn women’s basketball game. He said they did plenty of charity events together as well.
WRCH put together a tribute show for Sullivan.
“She was a very uplifting personality,” Boas said. “And I think that’s why she was so popular on the radio because she lifted people up when we feel down and things are dark. She brought her light. She brought her light to everything. And she was proud, but she was never arrogant. She never thought she knew everything. She was always curious about what other people thought, she loved a good intellectual debate. But it was always in good fun.”
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