Captain Thomas Donald (“Tom”) Quinn, died on December 12, 2016 in Potomac Falls, VA at the age of 92. Captain Quinn, a career Naval officer, was one of the teenage pilots in the US Navy in WWII. He began flight training after high school graduation and received his commission at age 19, in October 1943. He was a combat pilot and flight instructor during the war, flying TBF Avenger torpedo planes from aircraft carriers in the Pacific. His was among the squadrons that overflew the Japanese surrender ceremony aboard the USS Missouri on September 2, 1945. Captain Quinn’s career following the war was mostly in the antisubmarine warfare arena, and included major contributions to the design of a new generation of carrier-borne submarine detection and surveillance aircraft, the Grumman E-2C Hawkeye, as well as command of squadrons on both coasts. He retired from the Navy in 1973, after 30 years as a Naval Aviator. Upon retiring from the Navy, Captain Quinn started a very successful defense consulting business which he continued until 2002.
His post-retirement passion, however, was his volunteer work for the Smithsonian Institution, for 21 years at the Paul Garber Aircraft Preservation and Restoration Facility in Silver Hill, Maryland, and then at the new Udvar-Hazy Center, the expansion of the Air and Space Museum in Chantilly, VA, from 2003 until 2013. He continued to volunteer from his wheelchair, when he was no longer able to walk the long tour. He was honored by the Smithsonian by having a WWII-era photograph of him displayed in a permanent WWII exhibit in the National Museum of American History.
Captain Quinn was born to an Irish Catholic family in Brooklyn, NY on June 27, 1924. He attended Fordham Preparatory High School, and entered the Navy as soon as he graduated. He met his future wife, Rosina (“Rose”) Grogan, when they were 8 years old; they were married for 70 years. Captain and Mrs. Quinn had 7 children. He is survived by Rose and six of the children along with many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Captain Quinn was a very involved father, despite necessary absences because of deployments. For example, he was a Cub Scout Pack leader and baseball coach. He was also active in the Church, as a lector and a Eucharistic Minister.