Meet Daniel Quinn . . .
In March of 2018 I had to write an obituary for Daniel Quinn, my husband, best friend, and great love. I don’t think anybody ever enjoys writing an obituary, and this was certainly the hardest writing I ever had to do. But custom dictates it, so here is the main portion of what was printed in the Houston Chronicle and posted to Daniel’s Facebook page and the Ishmael website:
Daniel Quinn, best known as the author of Ishmael, The Story of B, My Ishmael, and Providence, died of aspiration pneumonia on February 17, 2018 at Houston Hospice. He was 82.
When they left Chicago for New Mexico in 1979, Daniel and Rennie Quinn never imagined they’d find a home in Madrid, a tiny former ghost town, or that they’d start a weekly newspaper that would serve a Rhode Island-sized territory east of Albuquerque and south of Santa Fe. They certainly never dreamed they’d spend 30 years in Texas–first in Austin and finally in Houston. It was here they discovered, in 1997, the newly-built loft in the Montrose District–their ideal kind of living and working space. It was like coming full circle, back to a city neighborhood akin to the one they’d left in Chicago when they set out on their westward journey.
The substance of Daniel’s education and career can be found at www.ishmael.org and Wikipedia.
First and foremost, Daniel lived to write, and there can be no more fitting epitaph than this recent email from a reader: “Your books have forever changed me. Thank you.”
At the time this seemed fine to me. It stated the basic facts, gave a little background, pointed the way to more information, and ended with a statement that showed he had accomplished his mission in life.
However, after it appeared, one of his readers wrote me saying it seemed that Daniel deserved more than this. Well, yes, I agreed, but an obituary is by definition a death notice, not a eulogy or tribute or homage. Those, I felt, could best be written by the people he had inspired through the books he wrote. And they were: in hundreds of comments on Facebook, in letters to me, and in various articles and blogs. I think Daniel would have wept with awe and joy to read these. I did.
Click here for the formal Daniel Quinn biography.
–Rennie MacKay Quinn