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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

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IN LOVING MEMORY: Joseph Raymond Quinn

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It is with great sadness that the Quinn family announces the passing of family patriarch, Joseph Raymond Quinn on December 30, 2022 at the age of 89. 

Joe married the love of his life Anne (nee Keeshan) on August 14, 1954. With their wedding song, Louis Armstrong’s “A Kiss to Build a Dream On”, they set out to pursue their dreams together over the next 68 years. Joe and Anne bought their house on Crescent Place, Smithtown in 1958 and lived there for 63 years until relocating crosstown to Whisper Woods Assisted Living in 2021. Together they realized their dreams – raising 10 children.

It was a busy household – held down by Anne, as Joe juggled multiple jobs but somehow managed to actively participate in all his children’s lives.

Joe was born to Joseph and Josephine (nee Powers) Quinn on August 31,1933 in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated from Bayside High School in Queens and went on to study at Iona College (now Iona University) where he graduated in 1955. He later earned a master’s degree from SUNY-New Paltz and attended Columbia Teachers College. Following graduation, Joe embarked on a 33-year career with the Middle Country Central School District as an elementary school teacher and then principal.

Beginning in the 1960s and continuing into his retirement, Joe served as a part-time congressional aide providing constituent services for three U.S. Representatives over a period spanning five decades. In this position he most enjoyed interviewing applicants for nominations to the United States military service academies, attending Eagle Scout ceremonies and resolving constituents’ concerns.

In addition to his long careers as an educator and congressional aide, Joe was strongly committed to community service. His greatest passion was politics and government. Joe was a fixture in Town and County Democratic parties for more than 60 years, and served as Chairperson of the Smithtown Democratic Party for more than 20 years. In his role as leader, he guided the campaigns of countless candidates. He also represented the party at several Democratic National Conventions as a New York State delegate, or alternate delegate. His dedication to the Town and County Democrats continued beyond his tenure as Chairperson, and only recently retired from active politics, when reduced mobility no longer allowed him to “pound the pavement” in support of candidates.

For many years. Joe was a trustee at SUNY-Old Westbury and served as Chairperson of the College Council for multiple terms. In retirement, Joe was certified as an impartial hearing officer for the NY State Education Department and presided over appeals on behalf of students with special education services. While working in Middle Country School District, he was also a leader in the statewide Principal’s association (SAANYS) where he advocated for fellow administrators.

Joe and Anne are devout Catholics and have been active parishioners at St. Patrick’s Parish in Smithtown for more than 60 years. Joe served as a lector at Sunday mass for more than 30 years. Together Joe and Anne volunteered to assist at baptisms and, and until recently, could be counted among the parishioners at the Nocturnal Adoration Society.

Joe was extremely proud of his Irish-American roots, and passed on his love for Irish culture to his children and grandchildren. He was a long-time member of the local Ancient Order of Hibernians (AOH) and was once named Irishman-of-the-Year. He traveled to Ireland many times to connect with his Irish relatives in Tullamore, County Offaly.

Despite his hectic schedule of professional career, family commitments and volunteer work, Joe knew how to have a good time. He never passed up an opportunity to enjoy music,friendship, travel, or sporting events. He was a proud alumnus of Iona College and an avid supporter of their college basketball program and attended many regular season and conference tournament games. In 2006, he was recognized by Iona College as Alumnus of the Year. 

With the assistance of his godchild Marybeth Dunkak Marchiony, he attended many NCAA Tournament Final Fours. Joe was also a lifelong baseball fan, first of the Brooklyn Dodgers and then the New York Mets. He was also a proud “sidewalk” alumnus of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.

Despite suffering from severe asthma, Joe took up running in his 40s. Over the next three decades he completed countless road races including five marathons. He encouraged his children and grandchildren to participate in sports and was often found on the sidelines supporting them.

Joe was an avid reader, and consummate scholar with a love of learning for learning’s sake. He and Anne enjoyed taking classes through the lifelong learning (OLLI) Program at SUNY-Stony Brook. Joe also taught several classes for the program, including courses on U.S. Politics and Russian History.

Joe was a lover of nature and camping. Starting with his summer job at Sunken Meadow State Park in the early 1960s, he would take every opportunity to visit this and other parks. Another example of his passion was the 1971 cross country road trip with Anne and eight of the children to California and back in a Ford station wagon. Along the way, they rough-camped in many national parks, including Yellowstone. The trip was a childhood highlight for many and inspired a love of the outdoors in many of his children.

What Joe enjoyed most was spending time with Anne and getting together with their extended family of 10 children, 25 grandchildren, and 26 great grandchildren. Joe and Anne made a point to attend every high school and college graduation, grandparents’ day, and school recital. Most recently, and despite their limited mobility, they attended the commencement ceremonies of their grandson, Joseph Richard Quinn, from Boston College in May 2022. Joe was very proud of the many accomplishments of his children and grandchildren, but rarely boasted to his friends or acquaintances. As with his own life, he preferred to let accomplishments speak for themselves.

Joe is survived by his beloved and devoted wife, Anne M. Quinn and their 10 children and their spouses: Kathleen Siebert (and husband Mark), Terence Quinn, Brendan Quinn (and wife Nancy), Marybeth McGann, Patrick Quinn (and wife Elizabeth), Neil Quinn (and wife Penny), Timothy Quinn (and wife Lori), Regina Ruoff (and husband Mike), Laurence Quinn (and wife Jeanmarie), and Julianne Kelly (and husband James), along with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Joe is predeceased by his parents, his two sisters, Rosemary Makris and Carmel McGovern, and brother Jerry who died as an infant, and by Cecelia Malloy Quinn (wife of Terence) and Stephen McGann (husband of Marybeth).

The family would like to thank the staff at Whisper Woods for their kind and loving care provided Joe throughout his time living there.

A funeral mass in celebration of Joe’s life was held at St. Patrick’s RC Church in Smithtown. Interment followed at Queen of All Saints Cemetery in Central Islip. Donations in Joe’s memory may be made to the New York Firefighter’s Burn Center Foundation (www.nyffburncenter.com) or Iona University ([email protected]).

Arrangements entrusted to the professional care of Branch Funeral Home of Smithtown and Vigliante family.