Dennis Martin Sullivan, 61, dentist, assisted coroner


Dennis Martin Sullivan, a Howard County dentist who helped investigators identify accident victims through dental records, died of congestive heart failure Tuesday at University of Maryland Medical Center. The Columbia resident was 61.

In addition to his large private practice, Dr. Sullivan specialized in cases of accidental and criminal death and was often called to assist police and the state coroner.

"He was an enthusiastic and dedicated individual who was willing to provide that kind of public service where there was a need," said state medical examiner John E. Smialek.

Dr. Sullivan assisted when two passenger trains collided in the snow on Feb. 16, 1996 in Silver Spring. A gasoline explosion and fire claimed the lives of 11 crew members and passengers, many burned beyond recognition.

A forensic team led by Dr. Sullivan identified the victims.

A large man with a bright smile, he was a favorite with patients. Some dropped by his Simpsonville office just to talk.

"He had a profound sense of humor -- a way with people," said Barbara Dawson, his longtime office manager.

Born in Orange, N.J., he was a graduate of Belmont Abbey College and the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery at the University of Maryland. From 1962 to 1964 he was an Air Force captain.

Dr. Sullivan is survived by his wife, the former Rosemary M. Hoffman, a nurse whom he married in 1962. The couple met in the emergency room of the old South Baltimore General Hospital, now Harbor Hospital Center.

A Mass was offered yesterday at St. Louis Roman Catholic Church in Clarksville.

He is also survived by two daughters, Karin S. Lipski of Dundalk and Leslie Nilsen of Silver Spring; and two grandsons.

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