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Matthew John Quinn

1935 ~ 2019 (age 83)

Matthew John Quinn departed this world on January 5, 2019, aged 83 years, after an exemplary life of uncommon achievement in the service of others and the pursuit of the greater good. Those who had the privilege to know him witnessed his love for life and genuine interest in their happiness. He left the world a better place.


Born in Brooklyn, New York to Irish immigrant parents of modest means, his life was an archetype of the American Dream. His education began with Catholic school in Brooklyn, followed by attending Brooklyn Preparatory School where he first encountered the Jesuits and began his lifelong association with the Society of Jesus. He entered the Society after Brooklyn Prep and was astutely trained for 11 years. Although he left the Society before priestly ordination, he never ceased to live as a Man for Others, the Jesuit educational ideal.


After leaving the Society, his gift for writing landed him jobs in advertising, but the work left him unsatisfied and he was called to find a career with deeper meaning and purpose. He joined the development office at the College of the Holy Cross, and while working there he met the love of his life, the beautiful Maureen Molloy, to whom he was lovingly devoted through more than 50 years of marriage. With a twinkle in his eye, he proudly referred to her as “my bride” throughout their life together.


He earned his Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Boston College, after which he served as Dean of the Evening School at Rider College in Lawrence, NJ; Dean of Arts and Sciences at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY, (during which time he managed also to earn his J.D. from Fordham University School of Law); Academic Vice President and Executive Vice President at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, PA; and President at Carroll College in Helena, MT.


The capstone of his career was as the Founding Executive Director of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation in Landsdowne, VA. As Founding Executive Director, he gave life to the vision of the Foundation’s benefactor. Using the tools Mr. Cooke provided, Dr. Quinn built the Foundation from the ground up, guiding both the development of its many programs and the creation of its physical campus. He was proud of its mission to advance the education of exceptionally promising students who have financial need. The Cooke Scholars and their stories were a constant source of inspiration to him. He often mused: “What if the young student who was destined to cure cancer could not afford the education needed to facilitate that achievement? Those are the students we are meant to find and to serve.” He loved his work, because he felt truly fortunate for the chance to make a difference, and to help improve people’s lives by finding them opportunities to develop their own gifts and talents.


He was also an accomplished photographer with an eye for artistic composition, and he had a knack for capturing personal moments. Anyone fortunate enough to be the subject of one of his many lenses became the recipient of a unique and treasured personal gift. His hobby became an occupation of sorts after he retired, and he busied himself capturing images of the people and places he loved. He spent hours refining and perfecting the captured images through Lightroom. His most frequent personal subjects were his family, but he also captured and created beautiful artistic compositions of Cape Cod, where he and Maureen enjoyed a wonderful, albeit too short retirement together.   


Throughout a busy and dedicated professional life, his principal devotion was always to his family. He was kind, gentle, loving, patient and understanding. He was a devoted and tender husband and an outstanding father to his two adoring sons who will miss him like sailors would miss an extinguished Polaris.


He is survived by his cherished wife and best friend, Maureen Quinn; their grateful sons Matthew and Michael; his beloved daughters-in-law Christine and Colette, and his precious grandchildren Jimmy and Michaela, who were the light of his life. We will all miss the glow of his powerful love, his patient guidance, his tremendous wit, his joyous laughter, and his warm  comforting embrace.


He was grand.

Donations may be made to:

Smile Train
633 Third Avenue, 9th floor, New York NY 10017

Gilchrist Center of Howard County
5537 Twin Knolls Rd. #433, Columbia MD 21045

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