“May the rains fall soft upon your fields…”
My beloved Dad passed away recently and it has been a sad time for our whole family. As I have reflected on my Dad’s long and purposeful life—he was just a few weeks short of his 94th birthday—I have conflicting feelings. It’s always difficult to lose someone you love and respect, but I feel that a life lived as he did should be celebrated. So with a heavy heart and much love and pride I say farewell until we meet again.
THOMAS MACK QUINN
July 16, 1921 – June 18, 2015
The purpose of life is to be happy; to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
After 93 years and 11 months, a kind, gentle soul left his earthy home to join his Father in Heaven on June 18th, 2015. Thomas Mack Quinn was “Tom” to his navy buddies and “Mack” to everyone else. Born July 16, 1921 in Big Sandy, MT, the first son of Emmet and Alice Quinn, he was raised on the family wheat and cattle ranch
southeast of Big Sandy. Mack’s love of Patriotism began with Boy Scouts and he was Big Sandy’s first Eagle Scout. He graduated from Montana State College in 1943 with a degree in electrical engineering. He was a proud member of Alpha Gamma Rho fraternity and the “M” club. After college, Mack joined the navy and reached the rank of Lieutenant (JG). He served on destroyers in the Mediterranean and Asian theaters. He met his loving bride of 69 years, Dorothea Stammler, when both were members of the navy station in Charleston, SC. Their wedding reception (and home for several months) was the historic location of Cat Fish Row. After the war, Mack and Dordy made their home first in Pittsburg, PA and then in Atlanta, Georgia while Mack worked for Westinghouse. He was proud of working on the turbines that went into Grand Coulee Dam. When his father decided to sell the farm, Mack packed up his wife, young son, Bob and moved back to the Big Sandy to take over the place. He loved farming and was named Montana’s Outstanding Young Farmer in 1955. He joined many agricultural organizations and was particularly active in Farm Bureau, serving as the State President for several years. He was also a member of the Big Sandy Rotary (a founding member), School Board (chairman many years), American Legion (State Vice- Commander), Masons and Shriners. He served on many MSU Advisory committees and loved returning to his alma mater for alumni gatherings and homecomings. He was able to attend his 70th graduation ceremony in 2013.
Mack was a member of the LDS Church and served in several callings including Branch President in Havre. Mack took up golf when he and Dordy started spending winters in Arizona. His first “hole in one” at the age of 82 was witnessed by his grandson, Trevor. He also enjoyed woodworking and lapidary and all the other amenities of an Arizona senior community and was still running a combine at the age of 89.
Mack is survived by his wife, Dordy, of Great Falls; son Bob (Ann) Quinn, Big Sandy; daughter Debby Blyth, Great Falls; grandchildren: Allison (Jerry) Taylor, Havre; Penny (Brook) Walker, Ferndale, WA; Holly (Sean) Knighton, Afton, WY; Bridgette (Andrew) Long, Big Sandy; Adam Quinn, Big Sandy; Trevor (Tara) Blyth, Missoula and 17 great-grandchildren; his brother Joe (Doris) Quinn of Spokane, WA and several nieces, nephews and cousins.
Memorials may be made to the Big Sandy Library, Shriners Hospital or charity of choice.