Dr. Carol Jean McGuire Quinn Quest

Date of Birth

March 5, 1924

Date of Death

August 31, 2011

City of Death

Aptos, CA; formerly of Santa Barbara

Carol was born March 5, 1924, to her pharmacist father, Thomas McGuire, and house wife mother, Louise McGuire in Oakland, California. She died August 31, 2011, in Aptos, California at age 87.

A bright student, she was identified as an academically gifted child early on in school, and graduated from U. C. Berkeley in 1945. She met her ex-husband John Quinn in Oakland at age 15, but their relationship was interrupted by World War II: She married John on his return from occupied Japan in 1946. The family finally settled in Ventura, California in 1957, after the Korean War, years of John’s professional education, and the birth of 3 children, Ross, Neil, and Laura.

In Ventura Carol was active in many community activities and organizations. She, along with John, was a founding member of the Ventura Unitarian-Universalist Church, and remained active in that faith the rest of her life, over 50 years. She was also a founding member of the Ventura County League of Women Voters. She, with John and the entire family, was also active in the Plaza Players theater group, and the Ventura County Mental Health Association. The plight of the patients of the Camarillo State Mental Hospital affected her deeply.

In 1966, she returned to college again, first at Ventura College, and then at the University of California, Santa Barbara. The family moved to Santa Barbara in 1968, and Carol received her Master’s degree in sociology from UCSB in 1970. She and her husband divorced in 1975, and she later changed her last name to Quest. During these years she continued her education as a doctoral student at UCSB, where she finally earned her PhD in Sociology in 1994, at age 70.

Carol had other passions besides education. She traveled widely, often alone, or with friends. She particularly favored France, where she spoke the French she learned in school. She was very active in the Unitarian-Universalist Society of Santa Barbara, as a member of numerous committees, and of its Board of Directors. She also sang in the Church’s choir, and sang many years in the Santa Barbara Master Chorale, as long as her health permitted it. She was active in the breast cancer survivors’ group, and tirelessly advocated the reforms of Health Care for All.

Another constant in Carol’s life was her love of family and friends. She loved her children, and grandchildren, and her great granddaughter, Elanor Espey. She remained close to her childhood friend Lettie Wing her entire life, to her Santa Barbara Church women’s group and friends from academia over 30 years, and to others from the Ventura Church, over 50 years. All valued her company, wit, conversation, and wise, heartfelt advice.

Carol’s physical and mental decline was devastatingly rapid, primarily due to Alzheimer’s Disease. During these last years, despite her illness, Carol still enjoyed her passions of her church, music and travel, even traveling to Costa Rica at age 84. As her condition worsened, she was comforted by visits from close friends and family, particularly her granddaughters, to whom she was very close. She moved to the Santa Cruz area in 2010 in order to be closer to her daughter, and continued to relish visits from her family and long-time friends Lois Robin and Roberta Bromburger, both of Santa Cruz. She was surrounded family and her friends in her final days, before passing away peacefully during the early morning hours of August 31.

Carol is survived by her children, all in California: Ross Quinn of Victorville, Neil Quinn of Ojai, and Laura Quinn of Ben Lomond, and is deeply missed by daughter-in law Karen Quinn, 7 grandchildren, and 1 great granddaughter. A celebration of her life will be held in the Santa Barbara Unitarian-Universalist Society Saturday, October 8, 2011 at 1:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be sent in Carol’s name, to either the general fund of the Unitarian-Universalist Society of Santa Barbara, the general fund for Camp de Benneville Pines, the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, or the Alzheimer’s Association.


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