On behalf of me and my colleagues at the CERT Coordination Center and
the Software Engineering Institute, I offer our deepest sympathy to
Christina, and the families of Quinn, and Ken on their loss. We
all of you in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
To me, Quinn was a very good friend. Someone who was intelligent,
funny, trustworthy and fun to hang out with. He gave me good
He also was a colleague, someone who was good at what he did, had pride
in his work, and was well-liked and respected by his colleagues.
Quinn was hired in our third phase of hiring away people from Pitt's
computer centre. Part of the "Pitt alumni" as we call
many years we have had "Pitt alumni" lunches on Fridays, and Quinn was
a regular participant in those. At many of the Pitt-originated
Chi-Chi's night gatherings, we were graced with the presence of both
the Mighty Quinn and the Lovely Christina, as he called her.
Quinn was a system administrator and kept many of our back office
systems running at the CERT Coordination Center. He enjoyed being
a system administrator and that extended home where he created his own
home computing infrastructure. He ran his web servers, mail
domain name system servers... We dubbed this Mighty Q Internet
Services, with the slogan Internet Services for the Mighty. Quinn
the best Internet service provider I ever had.
At work, Quinn also had the role of keeping my machines up and
running. I am not sure that was his favourite thing to do, but he
never complained. He kept my desktop and laptop machines running
up-to-date, and kept up with my freaky requirements. He answered
my endless questions. And, he continued to give me the technical
respect that one technical person gives another, even though my
technical skills are deteriorating because my role now is primarily
management. He laughed with me when I would be excited that I
actually figured out a technical problem.
For some requests, I knew I had to come bearing chocolate. I kept
a reserve of Ghirardelli chocolate in my office for those requests.
One Christmas, I gave Quinn a ten pound Ghirardelli chocolate
Christina had to take it away from him and store it at her parents
house to stop him from eating it continuously. Quinn and
Christina told me of Quinn waking up in the middle of the night after a
nightmare. In this nightmare people were chasing Quinn to get his ten
pound chocolate bar. A chocolate bar he refused to surrender.
I shared many political views with Quinn and enjoyed talking politics
with him. The pleasure was orders of magnitude higher when Ken
was involved. Quinn and others could get Ken rather wound up, and
would make for an interesting evening.
Quinn was not afraid to speak his mind. I remember that shortly after
Bill Fithen and I and a few others left Pitt, the Vice Chancellor for
the Computer Centre, Paul Stieman, held a recruitment event.
Quinn, then this back office server administrator walked up to Paul and
asked why he was having this event. Paul said to recruit some
senior level technical people. Seeing only people who looked like
they were just about to graduate, Quinn quipped, "Well, I don't see any
Bill Fithen's here..." Paul was not sure how to respond.
I like the Baltimore Orioles and Quinn and I traveled to some of the
Sunday games. The past couple of times we flew down to Baltimore
with Quinn as pilot. We did not land at some suburban Baltimore
airport with a small landing strip. We flew right into the
Baltimore Washington International airport. It seemed
me to fly into BWI, but Quinn did just fine. Once we heard
airline pilot complaining that he had to slow way down because of some
Cessna in front of him. With a big grin on his face, Quinn said,
"that jet pilot was referring to us!"
Quinn loved flying. He was happy that our policy of letting people take
classes during the day, as long as their work is done and commitments
met, extended to his flight training. I remember the day he came
in the office after getting his pilot's licence. They apparently
have a custom of ripping the pilot's shirt after he gets his
licence. Quinn had worn a dress shirt for his test – I guess not
realising he might pass that day.
I remember Quinn, Christina, and Ken joining me for a couple of my
annual Christmas shopping trips to San Francisco. Ken wanted to
Mount Diablo. We made the trip up there on some very windy
roads, up to the 3,849 foot summit. But the view from there was
incredible. I was amazed that people actually biked up the
mountain. It made me tired just watching them. I think if
Quinn had his bike with him, he probably would have biked it also. I
also remember Quinn and Ken sitting in the cockpit of an old 747 at the
Hiller Aviation Museum with big smiles on their faces.
It is still hard to comprehend that we will not see Quinn's smiling
face other than in our memories. But, we will have these
Miguel de Cervantes said,
There is a strange charm in the
thoughts of a good legacy ...
which wondrously removes
or at least alleviates
the sorrow that men would otherwise feel
for the death of friends.
Quinn has left a good legacy. A legacy of pursuit of happiness,
commitment, intellectual stimulation. Of laughter, friendship,
Of being a husband, a son, a brother, a nephew, a co-worker, a friend
— a very good friend.
There is a quotation:
Death leaves a heartache
no one can heal;
love leaves a memory
no one can steal.
I will always remember you, my good friend. The Most Noble and Mighty,
– Jeffrey James Bryan Carpenter
return to Words