William Stafford Quinn

William Stafford Quinn, a lifelong resident of Ellsworth, WI, passed away on Friday, June 24, 2011 at the age of 79.  Bill died in his home surrounded by his loving family.  Bill was the consummate gentlemen, beloved father and a fun-loving Irishman.  There wasn’t a tale he didn’t love to share, a face he couldn’t remember, a charity he wouldn’t support or a sporting event he wouldn’t miss watching.  He died as he lived – with dignity, integrity and prayer.

Bill was born on April 23, 1932 to his parents Matthew and Mary Stafford Quinn.  He was a loving brother to Donald Quinn, Matthew James Quinn and Margaret (Peggy) Gross.  Along with his parents, Bill was preceded in death by brother, Don and grandson John Matthew Quinn.  He is survived by his wife Mary Joan and all eight children. 

At a young age, he was greatly influenced by his parents’ key role in Wisconsin’s Democratic Party.                                                

During the 1960 Presidential elections, both Bobby Kennedy and John F. Kennedy visited Ellsworth and Bill had the good fortune of driving our 35th president around western Wisconsin as a state delegate

for John F. Kennedy’s Presidential campaign.   

On April 28, 1956, Bill married Mary Joan Clarity of Westwood, CA.  Bill and Mary Jo met while both in college in St. Paul, MN; Bill at St. Thomas University and Mary Jo at St. Catherine’s University.  This lifelong love affair and 55 years of marriage was the result of the two sharing a Russian history Honors class at the James J. Hill Library.  From that date onward, they never looked back.  Bill graduated magna cum laude from St. Thomas in 1954 and was chosen a Fulbright Scholar recipient in 1954-55. 

Upon graduation Bill served his country in California from 1955 to 1957.  As with many aspects of Bill’s life, a normal military stint would not do.  He served in the Army Intelligence Corp in Santa Monica, CA, wearing civilian clothes and working above a burlesque theater.  

After his Military duty, Bill and Mary Jo moved back to Ellsworth to join his Father, Matt, in the Ellsworth car business, Larson-Quinn Co., a franchised General Motors and Chrysler Corporation dealership.  After Matt’s untimely death in 1959, Bill became the dealer principal operating the dealership for over 55 years.  Meghan, Bill’s daughter currently operates the family GM dealership today, over 92 years after its inception.

Bill and Mary Jo raised eight wonderful children: Moira Ann (Michael) Leite  of Annandale, VA; Tracy Jean Quinn of Ellsworth, WI; Terence Sean (Lisa) Quinn of Lake Elmo, MN;  Kevin Patrick Quinn of Edina, MN;  Shannon Marie (Jeffrey) Horsager of Edina, MN;  Meghan Joan (Charles) Kummer of Ellsworth, WI; Erin Margaret Quinn of St. Paul, MN; and Brennan Joseph Quinn of Minneapolis, MN.

Bill is survived by 15 grandchildren: Richard (Sarah), Dana (Dan), Michael William, Sean Patrick, Hannah Josephine, Bridget Julianna, Elizabeth Anne, Peter Michael Joseph, Patrick Thomas, Griffin Douglas, William Stafford, Morgan Quinn, Mackenzie Joan, Clarity Katherine and Nolan Charles. 

Bill was a passionate Bridge player.  He very much looked forward to his weekly Bridge games at the Twin Cities Bridge Center and at various tournaments throughout the country.  Even on his many family trips and vacations he would look for opportunities to play Bridge, meet new people and tell a tale or two.  Bill was a Life Master Bridge player and accumulated almost 2000 master points in following his zest for playing Bridge and making friends.

Bill was a devoted and supportive member of St. Francis Catholic Church in Ellsworth, WI.  The church and his relationship with God were very dear to him.  Bill’s visitation will be held Wednesday, June 29, at St Francis from 4:00 to 8:00pm.  The funeral will be held on Thursday, June 30, at St. Francis at 11:00am with a visitation one hour prior.  Interment and reception to follow.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made directly to the St. Francis Catholic School endowment fund c/o of St. Francis Catholic Church, 264 South Grant Street, Ellsworth, Wisconsin, 54011

“May you always walk in sunshine.  May you never want for more.  May Irish angels rest their wings right beside your door”.   – Irish Blessing




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