“Just Passing Through.”
“Pat” Gail Quinn, an Oak Harbor resident since 1957, and longtime Oak Harbor businessman, passed away peacefully on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018, at Regency on Whidbey.
Pat was born on Sept. 12, 1925, to Owen and Nawasa Quinn, in a two-room cabin in Ajlune, Washington, the middle of three boys. A few years later, the family packed up and moved to Sequim, where they bought and ran a dairy farm. In time, the Quinn brothers became known as the milkmen of the area. Pat’s father (who was also a boxer) encouraged him in boxing, matching him against his brothers. In his own words, Pat said, “At 8 or 9, I could beat my older brother. In a year or so I could easily beat the two of them at the same time.” At age 13, he was allowed by his family to start fighting in local “smokers,” under the name of “Irish ‘Pat’ Quinn.” It soon became apparent that Pat had a natural athletic ability, and he eventually was in the ring with more experienced fighters.
Pat attended Sequim High School through his junior year. He was active in sports, playing football and track. At the age of 17, his parents decided it was time to expand his horizons, so they sent him to live with his aunt in Los Angeles, California. Pat finished his senior year there, graduating from El Monte High School in 1944. While at El Monte, he participated in football and track. He took first place in track in the state of California in 1944.
In boxing, he had a stellar record. Pat fought 51 amateur bouts. In 1944 he fought in the Golden Gloves in Los Angeles and had a KO in 20 seconds in the first round. The Los Angeles Times did an article on him, noting that it was the fastest KO in Golden Gloves that year. Afterward, he turned professional as a featherweight boxer at 125 pounds. His trainer was the ex-featherweight champion of the world, “Chalky” Wright. Bing Crosby’s brother Bob was Pat’s sponsor. Bing would come into Pat’s dressing room before a fight and spend about five or 10 minutes encouraging him. Bing would say, “Well, Patty, you have a tough one tonight! But we’re rooting for you!” Out of 72 bouts, Pat won 68, lost two and drew two. Pat was eighth-ranked featherweight in the world in 1950 when he quit boxing.
During this time, Pat had been working for Faller Glass Co., where he learned his trade as a glazier. In 1947 Pat was selected as a double for Mickey Rooney. He was contracted for five years and worked on three of his movies: “Killer McCoy,” “Off Limits” and “The Big Wheel.” He became close friends with Mickey Rooney, who attended many of his fights as a ringsider.
Pat met his beautiful bride-to-be, Betty Sutton, in Hollywood, and they were married in Grand Junction, Colorado, on May 20, 1950. They moved to Oak Harbor in 1957, and opened Quinn Glass, which they operated as a couple until 1979. They enjoyed work and travel, as well as time in Winthrop and Lake Havasu regularly. Pat enjoyed hunting, fishing and the outdoors.
Pat was “the life of the party,” always filled with quick-witted comments and a smile on his face. True to his Irish ancestry, He replicated the jovial nature of a Leprechaun, loving a “little sip o’ happiness” and “lifting a glass.” He loved to dance and sing a song or come up with a witty tune out of the blue. He had a cute twinkle in his eye and his laugh was contagious. He has left a permanent deep imprint with us forever. We love him. He was so loved by so many and is so greatly missed!
Pat is survived by his wife of 68 years, Betty Quinn; their three children, Colleen, Mike and Lyndell; 15 grandchildren; and 15 great-grandchildren; also, numerous nieces, nephews and other relatives.
We would like to extend our many heartfelt thanks for all the wonderful caregivers at Regency who took such good care of our Dad at the end of his life.
A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018, from 2 – 5 p.m., at the Oak Harbor Elks Club. Family and friends are encouraged to share memories and condolences at www.whidbeymemorial.com. Also, if anyone has stories they would like to share about Pat at the memorial, please be prepared to do so. We know there are so many stories from wherever Dad was. They may also be emailed to email@example.com.