Sullivan, Mary “Clara”

Clara Sullivan, Lenoir College, 1921.


Clara Sullivan, Lenoir College 1922.










Sullivan, Clara, 1924,26, cropped 1000

Mary Clara Sullivan, c. 1924.


Clara Sullivan, July 13, 1927.

Sullivan, Clara, 1931

Mary Clara Sullivan serving as a missionary in Tsimo, Shantung, China, 1931. Courtesy,













Clara Sullivan while on faculty of Lenoir-Rhyne College, 1944-1945. Dean of Highland Hall, Assistant in Bible.


Mary “Clara” Sullivan, c. 1950s, missionary to China and Malaya for United Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina, 1960 Diamond Jubilee brochure.














Faculty: English and Science, 1924, 1925.

Education: A. B., Lenoir-Rhyne College
Received an honorary doctorate from Lenoir-Rhyne in 1952.

Missionary Service: 
China 1929-1952
Malaya 1953-1960

Birth: April 11, 1900, Lincolnton, Lincoln, North Carolina
Death: August 26, 1960, Beirut, Lebanon

Rufus Beauregard Sullivan (1861-1918)
Sarah Adeline Hartgrove (1866-1911)

Hugh Kemp Sullivan (1890-1982)
Rufus Blair Sullivan (1907-1967)
Dorothy Sullivan Allran (1909-1991)

Bethphage Lutheran Church Cemetery
Lincolnton, Lincoln County, North Carolina, USA

Courtesy, # 28636270


Statesville Record and Landmark (Statesville, NC), 29 Jul 1929, p. 1.

Conference Of Lutheran Women
Held Thursday at St. Stephen’s Church, Lenoir – Next meeting at Haven Church, Near Salisbury.

… The society assumed the support of Miss Clara Sullivan, Lincolnton, as missionary to China in addition to regular contributions. Pledges were given on the floor of convention and conferences with response that justifies the action. She will probably sail in September.


The Daily Times-News (Burlington, NC), 10 Sep 1935, p. 7.

Missionary To Be At The Lutheran Church

Miss Clara Sullivan who has spent the past six years in the Lutheran mission at Kinochew, Shantung, China, will be a Macedonia Lutheran church, Wednesday afternoon and evening, September 11.

At 3:30 she will give an informal talk and conduct a round table discussion and a 8:00 will present moving pictures of the Lutheran mission work in China.

Miss Sullivan, one of our North Carolina girls, is supported by our state missionary society.

She has a pleasing personality and those who are present will thoroughly enjoy hearing her.

Members and friends of the church are cordially invited to attend.


Statesville Daily Record (Statesville, North Carolina), 12 Feb 1952, p. 2.

Clara Sullivan Leaving China

Only one United Lutheran missionary was left in China last week. Communists had given an exit permit to Miss Clara Sullivan at Tsingtao in Shantung province. She went to Hong Kong and will soon return to America. The missionary still in Communist China is Rev. Paul J. Mackensen who went there in 1948.

Rev. Charles Reibrecht, who has been in British-held Hong King since Communists captured Tsingtao, is now in the U. S. on furlough.

Miss Sullivan is a veteran in the church’s foreign service. She was held in China as a prisoner of the Japanese in 1941. When Communists came into Tsingtao in 1949 she refused to leave. A year ago when Communists began preventing any further missionary work by Americans, she applied for an exit visa.

This month there were only 10 Lutheran missionaries of all nationalities in Communist-controlled China, although a strong force continues in in Hong Kong. One Lutheran, Rev. Felix Paulsen of the Schleswig-Holstein mission, is imprisoned in Kwangsi province.

Miss Sullivan’s home is in Cherryville and she has many friends in this section of the state.


Greensboro Daily News, (Greensboro, NC), 27 Aug 1960, p. 5.

Missionary Dies En Route Home

HICKORY, Aug 26 – News has been received here of the death of Dr. Mary Clara Sullivan, 60, a native of Lincoln County and a former counselor and teacher at Lenoir Rhyne College at Hickory, in Lebanon early today. She was en route to the United States from Malaya, where she had served as a Lutheran missionary for several years. She has also done missionary work in China.

Dr. Sullivan was a graduate of Lenoir Rhyne College and in 1941 she was awarded a citation for mission work from 1929 until taken a prisoner by the Japanese.

The missionary went to Malaya in 1953 and worked until becoming ill about two weeks ago.

Funeral arrangements are incomplete. It was not known her if Dr. Sullivan’s body would be brought to Lincolnton County or returned to Malaya.

Surviving are her stepmother, Mrs. Claudia Henderson-Sullivan of Hickory, now in a Wilmington nursing home; two brothers, Kemp Sullivan of Charlotte and Blair Sullivan of Stanley; and three sisters, Mrs. Howard Allran of Charlotte and Mrs. H. R. Brown and Mrs. Paul Bell of Spartanburg, S. C.


Greensboro Record (Greensboro, NC), 29 Aug 1960, p. 19.

Mary C. Sullivan Funeral Thursday in Lincoln County

Funeral will be held at 3 p.m. Thursday at Bethpage Lutheran Church in Lincoln County for Mary Clara Sullivan, 60, Lutheran missionary to Malaya, who died Aug. 26 in Beirut, Lebanon, en route home.

Miss Sullivan, who was from Lincolnton, is the aunt of Rev. Wayne S. Allran, associate pastor of First Lutheran Church here, and had visited in Greensboro.

Dr. S. L. Conrad, president of the United Evangelical Lutheran Synod of North Carolina, will officiate at the funeral, assisted by Rev. Glen a Young pastor of Bethpage Church. Burial will be in the church cemetery.

Miss Sullivan was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Lenoir-Rhyne College in 1952. During World War II, while serving as a missionary to China, she was imprisoned by the Japanese. After the war she was again imprisoned by the Communists and later expelled from China. She was sent to Malaya as a missionary to the Mandarins there.


Rocky Mount Telegram (Rocky Mount, NC), 18 May 1962, p. 8.

Lutherans To Dedicate Church House Sunday

… Other memorials in the Church House include “The Clara Sullivan Room” provided by the Women of the North Carolina Synodical in memory of Mary Clara Sullivan, H. L. D. missionary to China from 1929 to 1941 and in Malaya from 1952 to her death…