In Memoriam: SI librarians Sarah Giffen & Br. Leonard Sullivan, SJ '44
Posted 02/09/2017 04:01PM

SI recently lost two librarians -- one current and one from past years. Sarah Giffen, who served at SI for more than a decade, died Feb. 7. Br. Leonard J. Sullivan, S.J. '44, died a day later. Their obituaries are below. May they both rest in peace.

Sarah Ruth Giffen

June 26, 1951 - February 7, 2017

Sarah Ruth Giffen passed away after a long illness on February 7, 2017. Sarah, born in Fresno, California, was the daughter of Price and Joann Giffen. She attended local schools and went on to graduate from the University of California at Berkeley. She also received an MBA from Golden Gate University and a Masters in Library Science from San Jose State University.

After graduating from college, she moved to the Bay Area to work for Bank of America. Sarah and her husband, Cliff West, were married in 1985 and then made their home in San Mateo. Their twin daughters, Laura and Sydney, were born in 1991. For the past 20 years, Sarah worked as a librarian—first at St. Matthew Catholic School and most recently, at St. Ignatius College Preparatory. She loved reading, but, most of all, found joy in working with the many students who touched her life.

Sarah, an avid intellectual, loved history and classical music. She also enjoyed needlepointing, especially while watching football games with her family. Sarah loved rooting for the 49ers and the Cleveland Browns. A true extrovert, she was an incredible conversationalist and was known for befriending all, including her numerous canine friends.

Sarah is survived by her husband of 31 years, Cliff West; her daughter, Laura, and son-in-law, Michael Fischer; her daughter, Sydney West; her brothers and sisters and their families; brother-in-law and his family; and sister-in-law. The family would like to thank all of Sarah's doctors and the medical staff at Mission Hospice who so lovingly cared for her throughout her illness.

Visitation begins at 6pm followed by a Rosary at 6:30pm on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2017 at Sneider & Sullivan & O'Connell's Funeral Home, 977 S. El Camino Real, San Mateo, CA. Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 4pm on Monday, Feb. 13, 2017 at St. Matthew Catholic Church, 1 Notre Dame Ave., San Mateo, CA. Reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the St. Ignatius Scholarship Endowment, 2001 37th Ave., San Francisco, CA 94116 and/or the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University Scholarship Fund, 1735 Le Roy Ave., Berkeley, CA 94709. - See more at:

Bro. Leonard J. Sullivan, S.J.

Brother Leonard John Sullivan, S.J., died February 8, 2017 at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Los Gatos. He was 90 years of age and had been a Jesuit Brother for 72 years.

Lennie was born in San Francisco November 2, 1926, and after graduating from St. Ignatius High School in 1944, he entered the Jesuit novitiate at Los Gatos. As a young Brother, his assignments were varied: maintenance and painting at the Novitiate, secretary to the principal at St. Ignatius High, bookbinder at the Jesuit bindery at Alma College, Los Gatos, and infirmarian at Bellarmine Prep, San Jose.

In 1954, he returned to St. Ignatius, where over a twenty-year period, he served as librarian, history teacher, and, after establishing a television studio, instructor in television production and broadcasting. He later served as librarian at Serra High School, San Mateo, and in the public library systems of San Mateo, San Francisco, and South San Francisco.

Over the years, balancing work obligations with studies, Lennie earned degrees from the University of San Francisco (BA, History, 1963, and Library certificate, 1968), San Francisco State (MA, Education, 1973), San Jose State (MLS, Library Science, 1977) and state teaching credentials.

He was an avid Giants fan, coached St. Ignatius's freshmen and junior varsity baseball teams for many years, and worked as an umpire at the high school level. He was also a model railroad fan.

He is survived by many nieces and nephews, including Cathy McAvoy of San Jose.

Mass of Christian Burial will take place on Saturday, February 18, 10:00 a.m. at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, 300 College Avenue, Los Gatos, CA 95030, with committal immediately after at Santa Clara Mission Cemetery, 490 Lincoln Street, Santa Clara, CA 95050.

Donations in memory of Brother Sullivan may be made to the California Province of the Society of Jesus, P.O. Box 68, Los Gatos, CA 95031, or to a charity of your choosing.

St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Courage to Lead; Passion to Serve

2001 37th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500
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