Julia “Sheila” Sullivan Umlauf

Published 2:15 pm Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Sheila Umlauf, age 79, of Tryon, NC passed into the hands of our Lord early on the morning of June 2, 2017 after a fiercely fought ten month battle against a very aggressive, unstoppable, form of lymphoma.

Sheila, daughter of the late Roger and Mary Sullivan and the youngest of six children, was born April 10, 1938 in Brooklyn, NY.  Shortly thereafter her parents moved to Rockland County, NY where she continued to live until graduation from Clarkstown High School after which she joined Lederle Labs in Pearl River, NY, where she met and fell in love with her devoted husband of 60 years upon his return from Military service.  Sheila is blessed with three caring children and three doting grandchildren all of whom have been at their matriarch’s side from the beginning providing much comfort and solace: August Umlauf, Jr. (St. Petersburgh, FL); Julia (Jill) S. Umlauf (NY, NY); and, Sean A. Umlauf along with wife Beth, living in Polk County with their three adult children Brandon, Jessica and Mason Umlauf.

Immediately preceding her passing, all three of Sheila’s brothers and a loving niece were able to visit with Sheila which greatly raised her spirits and eased her pain. Also, nearly all the foregoing kept vigil during the final hours.

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Sheila, always known for her bright smile, quick wit, and funny stories doted on Gus and followed him wherever life’s turns took them. After marriage, she followed him to Kansas so he could attend college, thence on a four-year stint to Brazil (with three tots in tow) when his firm called on him for help there. Stints in Chicago and CA followed a similar pattern with Sheila forever providing back-up. Finally, in the late 1970’s after having raised three children, and a husband, she decided to again tackle her own college pursuits which had been put on hold when she and Gus married. 

Her long sought goal was achieved in 1981 with the granting of a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Connecticut at Storrs. Sheila held a couple of paying gigs in CT real estate and worked for the President of a large CT based Retailer, but found it much more exciting to lead rather than follow. And wherever they settled, it seems Sheila always managed to head up another project: President of the local Welcome Wagon in NJ, President of the Newcomers’ Club in another locale, President of the local Ladies Golf Association where she held her own and earned a bevy of awards because she was never afraid of a challenge.

Because Sheila could smack a drive straight and true, it would cost Gus nearly every time they played golf together. That is probably why he migrated to Duplicate Bridge because Sheila did not yet have her same fierce competitive edge honed quite so sharply. Not at first that is.

Nevertheless, in a few short years she was knocking on the door one level below the Life Master having earned 337 master points thereby reaching Regional Master status, which is quite an achievement for a woman who professed to not care a great deal about the game. Alert to all the angels in heaven: do not sell short your latest angel.

Her long and loving marriage to her husband was an inspiration to many. Throughout her life, she was an open and helpful source for guidance and advice to younger family members and friends who were starting their own families, relationships, and careers.

Sheila will be sorely missed by her surviving, loving, and devoted husband, August “Gus” Umlauf, her three children, her three grandchildren and by siblings “Flip” Sullivan, Roger Sullivan, Dan Sullivan and Ellen Gallo.

Interment will be in a family plot near Sheila’s parents at Gethsemane cemetery, of St. Paul’s Church in Congers, NY later this summer. St. Paul’s Church is where Father Moody originally blessed the marriage of Sheila and Gus. A Memorial Services will be held in Tryon, NC at a date yet to be announced.