Thomas L. Quinn, age 86, of Grand Rapids, MI., passed away surrounded by his family on Monday, February 21, 2022. He was born on November 17, 1935, in Grand Rapids to the late Robert and Albertine Quinn. He attended St. James grade school, graduated from Catholic Central High School in 1953, and from Aquinas College in 1957.
Tom went to work for Spartan Stores, Inc. and reached the position of vice president of sales and marketing. He left to become president of Family Foods Markets and then joined J.W. Messner advertising as partner and president until retiring in 1998.
Tom served on many boards including the Advisory Committee of Western Michigan University’s School of Food Distribution, Kendall College Board, Grand Rapids Better Business Bureau, and also as a member of the Development Council of Catholic Secondary Schools, and a member of the Grand Rapids Public Schools Children’s Summit, as well as many other community service and business organizations. He was also an active and longtime (65 years) member of his parish church of St. Thomas the Apostle. He was awarded the local American Advertising Federation Silver Medal Award in 1997 for the outstanding contributions to advertising and the community.
He is survived by his loving wife of 65 years Gerry (nee: Hillary), his son Thomas, Jr. (Anita), daughter Laura (Andrew Sheridan), daughter Colleen (Robert) Cullison, son John (Rebecca); his grandchildren, Dan (Danielle) Quinn, Karen (Steve) Privasky, Hillary (Trent) Darrow, Jennifer Cullison, Hannah Quinn, Lucy Quinn; and three great grandchildren, Caroline, Allie and Quinn.
He also leaves two brothers, Patrick (Rita) Quinn, Michael (Rose) Quinn; two sisters, Kathleen Quinn, Maureen Slade Bryant. He was preceded in death by his brother Bob (Janyce) and sister Noreen (Paul) Napierela, brothers-in-law Ray Slade, and Charlie Bryant. Tom also leaves sisters-in-law Mary Beth (Den) Ketelaar, Elaine Hillary, and brothers-in-law: Don (Carol) Hillary, Dick (Kate) Hillary, Fred (Linda) Hillary, Larry (Arlene) Hillary, Rody (Jeanne)) Hillary, and Kelly (Didi) Hillary. He was preceded in death by his brother-in-law Louis Hillary and sister-in-law JoAnn (Bob) Dunn. Tom has many nieces and nephews.
Tom had a philosophy he lived by and had this saying framed on his office wall: “Honesty is the best policy. Wrong is wrong even if everybody does it. Right is right even if nobody does it.” This guided him in all his personal and business relationships. He enjoyed speaking to students and new graduates and always made time to talk about a job search with individuals of any age.
Tom was a wonderful writer. He was fascinated with statistics of any kind and articles about self-improvement or enhancing business. He was an avid reader. All of these things prompted him to create a newsletter called Marketing Observations. In the beginning, he sent this to just a few business friends, but after a time, the word got out and many more asked to be included in his monthly mailing list! He would do a Time Capsule each month of key news events, the Dow Jones, Nasdaq, Gold, Oil, Gas and Unemployment numbers. These newsletters captured a wonderful moment in time for many, many years.
He had several hobbies. He enjoyed photography, painting, camping and traveling of any kind. He and his wife Gerry saw a good portion of the United States and many locations around the world. Their kids went with them on many of these adventures and have a lot of fond memories, camping in particular. He loved spending summers at their place in Grand Haven.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Monday, February 28, 2022, 11 a.m. at St. Thomas the Apostle Parish, 1449 Wilcox Park Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506. Tom’s family will greet family and friends on Sunday, February 27, 2022, at O’Brien Gerst Funeral Home, 3980 Cascade Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49546 from 4 to 7 p.m. with a Rosary at 6:30 p.m. and visitation Monday at church 30 minutes prior to the Mass. Fr. James Chelich celebrant. Interment is at Resurrection Cemetery. Tom’s family would like to thank Faith Hospice and the caregivers at Cascade Trails who treated Tom like family.
The family kindly requests that guests wear face masks at all locations.
Contributions to Catholic Secondary Schools, or St. Thomas the Apostle Education Foundation would be appreciated.
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