Anne Marie Sullivan Reher Livio
1915 - 2005

Born in Denver, Colorado on Christmas Day, 1915, Anne Marie Sullivan was the daughter of second generation Irish immigrants who had made their way to Colorado from Ontario, Canada (father Dennis) and from the plains of Nebraska and Iowa (mother Mary Ellen Malone). She was raised in a devout Catholic environment, attended Cathedral High School and went on to obtain her degree in history in 1937 at Loretto Heights College, where she graduated with honors and was Student Body President.
 
In 1937 she came to Los Angeles to take a job teaching at Marymount High School in Westwood, eventually leading the way to the Los Angeles area for the rest of her family. While at Marymount, she also pursued a B.A. degree in Music at UCLA and eventually went on to get an M.A. in Music at Mt. St. Mary's College in 1952. It was while she was studying at UCLA that she met her husband to be Sven Reher, a well-known violist who, at the time was studying under Arnold Schoenberg. They were married in 1941 and eventually had five children: Thomas Sven (1943), Kathleen Marianne (1946), David Sven (1948), Vincent Sven (1952) and Mary Regina (1954).

While successfully raising a family, Anne Reher led an intensely active public life. During the 1950s and 1960s she earned a living as public speaker giving book reviews and satires at women's club luncheons. All of her talks had a humorous vein to them, and some of her speeches such as Emily Post around the World and How to Be Happy Though Alive were memorable. Eventually she was hired by the Mobile Oil Corporation, and later by Union Bank, to continue giving her talks to women's groups, but now as a part of the public relations programs for these firms. At that time, she and her husband Sven developed a widely successful husband-wife musical routine they called recitalogues, dedicated to  subjects such as Music in Paris or Music in Vienna. During these recitalogues, they would play music, Anne on the piano and Sven on the viola, sing and tell anecdotes about composers, musicians and people.

Political activism. especially Catholic political activism, was an important part of her public life. In her unpublished memoirs, she situated the origins of this dedication to public service in her experiences at Loretto Heights College in Denver where her teachers, all of them nuns, "...insisted that the good Christian woman was not content to just have a family. No, she was expected to get out into the marketplace because it was a very sad market place. It was missing people who had ideals, and so we had to go." And a dedicated activist she was, taking up the cause of many liberal issues, often on the side of the Democratic Party. During the 1950s, in collaboration with people like Mary Workman, Chet Huntley and others she was instrumental in organizing support for the United Nations, eventually becoming the President of the United Nations Association of Beverly Hills and Vice-President of the UN Association of Los Angeles.
 
More important in her life was her role as a Catholic social activist where she was strongly influenced by people like Julia Metealf, Father John Coffield and her brother Dr. Frank Sullivan (Loyola University). She was a founder of the Christines, the Commonweal Club and the Catholic Peace Association, as well as a member of the board of directors of the Catholic Human Relations Council. These activities often placed her at odds with the Catholic hierarchy of Los Angeles, in particular with archconservative Cardinal Mclntyre. At home this same spirit of Catholic activism was very much alive and Christmas Eve trips after mass to take gifts to adopted families in East Los Angeles were traditional.

During these years, she effectively used her home near UCLA as a springboard for her Catholic activism. It was there, for example, that the Commonweal Club mailings were organized and where meetings were held. That home was the scene of heated debates on social issues inspiring lectures by speakers such as the Swiss theologian Hans Kung, the Jesuit activist Daniel Berrigan, Ammon Hennacy from the Catholic Worker movement, Sidney Poitier, Hubert Humphrey and many others, as well as a memorable concert by jazz pianist George Shearing, organized to support interracial housing policies in Los Angeles in the early 1960s. For over 50 years, this Westwood home was also the site of a traditional Christmas Carol Sing, in which people used to gather to sing carols, to listen to wonderful music played by musicians of note, to delight in Haydn's Toy Symphony played by friends and the family, to eat and drink and also to hear Anne and her husband Sven play their heartrending renditions of Oh Holy Night or Cantique de Noel. Anne was invariably the master of ceremonies from the piano keyboard, charming people with her wit and her music. For many, over the past half century this westside home has embodied an important chunk of Los Angeles history and its intellectual and social life.
 
The latter years of her life brought further public recognition and substantial changes. From 1974 to 1980, she was appointed commissioner of the Department of Municipal Arts of the City of Los Angeles by Mayor Tom Bradley. Her tenure on the committee was often conflictive as she was willing to do battle with the commission's head, Larry Deutsch, with the City Council and even with the mayor over what she considered to be the  proper spending priorities. These problems notwithstanding, in 1980 she was the recipient of the Los Angeles City Council Commendation and was named Woman of the Year in 1984 by the California Child Study Foundation. In 1986 she wed Joseph Livio. During the latter years of her life, she became much more conservative and gradually retreated from public view. The exception to this is the Christmas Carol Sing that continued to be held until 2003.

Beyond these changes, however, her posthumous bequest to the School of Public Health at UCLA, earmarked for its program for the homeless, is fitting testimony to her long history of social consciousness and her dedication to the city of Los Angeles.