The Rev. Daniel Kilmer Sullivan, 81, of Bear Creek, Pa., retired rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan in Paoli, died Sept. 3 of a staph infection at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, Conn., where he had been visiting relatives.

For 23 years, Father Sullivan served Good Samaritan parishioners, who affectionately called him "Father Dan."

When he announced his retirement in 1995, colleagues described Father Sullivan to a reporter as a charismatic minister who transformed a struggling church into a vibrant parish.

"He's going to be missed," church member David Virtue said at the time. "The genius of the man is that he has been able to maintain a balance in the church with all the divergent forces that are here - from liberal to conservative. He's a pastor's pastor."

In 1989, Father Sullivan told The Inquirer that he had invited an evangelical preacher to Good Samaritan "to stretch the Main Line mentality a little bit. That mentality is preoccupied with money, looks, intelligence, and being cool."

Virtue said recently that Father Sullivan was always welcoming to new church members and had a gift for remembering names. Virtue, president of VirtueOnline, an Orthodox Anglican news service, remained friends with Father Sullivan after he retired.

While ministering at Good Samaritan, Father Sullivan was active in mission and outreach programs in Inagua, Bahamas; in the Oglala Sioux Reservation in Pine Ridge, S.D.; and in Namutamba, Uganda. From 1983 to 1993, he served on the board of Episcopal Community Services for the Diocese of Pennsylvania.

Since moving to the Poconos 14 years ago, Father Sullivan had been associate pastor at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church in Wilkes-Barre. He was president of Reach Inc., a homeless ministry in Wilkes-Barre.

A native of New Brunswick, Father Sullivan earned a bachelor's degree from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. and a master's of divinity degree from Yale University. After his ordination in 1956, he was rector of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd in Rangeley, Maine, for 10 years, and then was rector of Grace Episcopal Church in Nutley, N.J., for six years.

Father Sullivan is survived by his wife of 52 years, Adele Olmstead Sullivan; a son, Mark; daughters Louise and Andrea; and a brother.

The funeral will be at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Episcopal Church of the Good Samaritan, 212 W. Lancaster Ave., Paoli.

Memorial donations may be made to Reach Inc., St. Stephen's Episcopal Church, 35 S. Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, Pa. 18701.

Contact staff writer Sally A. Downey at 215-854-2913 or sdowney@phillynews.com.