Thomas J. Quinn
- Published: January 25, 2024
May the road rise to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face.
The rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
—Traditional Irish blessing
Thomas J. Quinn, of Kettering, Ohio, died on Jan. 17, 2024, after a brief illness. He was 81.
A lifelong student and longtime newspaperman, Tom was always searching for the truth. His active mind kept him busy seeking knowledge and understanding of global issues, which he shared with friends and family at every opportunity. He loved a good meal, a good conversation and a good laugh.
Tom was born in East Cleveland, Ohio, on Nov. 23, 1942, and attended the University of Dayton and later Case Western Reserve University, graduating with a degree in sociology in 1965. He was drafted during the Vietnam War, where he served as an army correspondent and photographer.
Tom worked as a reporter, editor and columnist in his 41-year career at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. He won awards for breaking news writing in police and courts coverage and for investigative reporting on medical care and public transit, and also worked as a TV-radio columnist and assistant state editor. In 2005, he initiated and contributed to a six-month series on the worldwide energy crisis, “Crude Awakening,” which won state and national awards. The prestigious Columbia Journalism Review featured Tom in a 2005 article, “Working the Fringes,” detailing how his news-gathering led to the “Crude Awakening” series. A frequent presence in alternative circles, Tom attended countless meetings on everything from environmental and labor rights to monetary reform and anti-war activism. Jovial and smart, with an Irish wit, Tom also excelled in public speaking, becoming a Distinguished Toastmaster and taking part in local and regional improvisational comedy competitions.
In retirement, Tom volunteered for the online environmental publication EcoWatch, serving as a board member and senior editor from 2007–2012. Ever proud of his Irish heritage, he also had the chance to visit the British Isles with his wife, Susan, in 2008. His interest in genealogy and astonishing recall of dates made him a font of information about family history and keeper of family stories.
After relocating to the Dayton area, Tom was delighted to return to the University of Dayton, attending more than 30 classes as a senior fellow in its Osher Lifelong Learning Institute from 2012–2020. Faisal Chaudhry, a UD professor of law and history, wrote of Tom in February 2020: “It is wonderful to have you in class. You always seem so attentive, like you’ve done all of the reading, and clearly, like you are passionately engaged with the issues. You are also a great wealth of knowledge and I do hope the other undergraduates in the room appreciate what a model of lifelong learning you clearly are.”
Tom is survived by his wife of 48 years, Susan, who was as loyal and devoted as a partner could be. He took great pride in the accomplishments and character of his children, John (Allie) Quinn, Mary (Mintu) Bachann, and Megan (Joseph) Bachman. And he loved sharing stories and playing cards, checkers and chess with his grandchildren, Mackenzie and Ryland Quinn, Noreen Bachann and Pearl and Luella Bachman.
A Funeral Mass will be at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 14, at St. Charles Brromeo, 4500 Ackerman Blvd., Kettering, followed by interment at Calvary Cemetery, 1625 Calvary Ave., Dayton. Condolences may be sent to the Westbrock Funeral Home in Kettering.