2009-02-27 / Letters

In Memoriam: Raymond Quinn

Dear Editor,

When noted broadcaster and journalist, Tom Brokaw, authored his best-seller "The Greatest Generation," he doubtless had in mind just the kind of World War II hero our community lost. On February 4, longtime Rockaway resident and US Army veteran, Raymond Quinn, passed away at the age of 93, following a long battle with cancer. To those of use who had the good fortune to know him, it is a great loss. Mr. Quinn was one of those elegant and quietly king individuals who seem to come along all too infrequently in an age when our coarsening culture appears to tolerate or encourage foul-mouthed entertainers with their underwear hanging out, and movies, music and television shows that all too often thrive on sleaze. To me, there is always something especially heartbreaking about losing one of the solid members of a generation that 50 years ago could have never imagined how long we could go in America.

Raymond Quinn was a wonderful example of the best of that age of lost innocence. As a courageous army captain in the European theaters of World War II, his leadership and heroism was unchallenged. He returned home to be blessed by a long and happy marriage, but was widowed with the death of his beloved wife, Kate in 1993. Quinn carried on bravely without her, but a tear was never far from his eye when conversation turned to memories of the dear lady that was the center of his life. Those of us who knew Kate could understand why. Here at the Surfside Apartments, she was beloved by all, and often acted as an unofficial "doorman" with a smiling greeting for all who entered the building. She seemed to radiate light, and indeed, she was the light of Raymond's life.

In recent years, the onset of blindness and the resulting inability to drive did not deter Raymond from keeping active as he walked the neighborhood running his errands with cane in hand. He learned the use of computers and attended veteran's seminars focusing on skills for the blind. He enjoyed attending the Saturday evening mass at St. Camillus Church, and, with a hearty appetite, he loved dining out with friends. I was blessed to be counted among them, and when I was really lucky, Raymond would accept one of my invitations to dine at my home. He would talk cheerfully of the topic of the day, and now and then recall his tales of the war years. It was always a pleasure to share his company, and he will be greatly missed.


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