Ricardo J. Quinones: 1935-2019

My dad died early Friday morning. He was a great father, loved his boys fiercely, a beloved and tempestuous literature professor at Claremont McKenna College, a husband, scholar and author. 

I’m only beginning to understand how much I’ll miss him.

Here’s my obituary for him, which I’ve submitted to the newspaper in our hometown:


Ricardo J. Quinones, a long-time Claremont resident and retired comparative literature professor at Claremont McKenna College, has died from complications of a many-year struggle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Prof. Quinones was also founding director of the Gould Center for Humanistic Studies at the college, which now has a distinguished lectureship in his name. For several years, he served on the board of directors of the National Council for the Humanities, appointed in 2004 by President George W. Bush.

He died in hospice care at his home in West Los Angeles on Jan. 25, 2019. He was 83.

Prof. Quinones and his young family arrived in Claremont in an old Buick station wagon in 1963, straight out of Harvard University, where he earned his PhD under renowned literary scholar Harry Levin.

Over the years he became a fixture on the small, growing campus, a beloved teacher for generations of students, in love with his subject. He was chosen Professor of the Year in the mid-1970s. He was also at times a tempestuous figure. He protested the Vietnam War, supported the Civil Rights Movement, loved Robert F. Kennedy and voted for George McGovern.

Years later, with increasing encounters with a stifling political correctness in academia, his politics veered away from the Democratic Party, believing it had left him, though his favorite presidents remained Harry Truman and John Kennedy.

He was one of the first presidents of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers – which formed in 1994 in opposition to the politicization of debate in the humanities and as an alternative to the Modern Language Association, the mainstream organization of literature scholars.

Through it all, he loved reading and literature and all kinds of stories, baseball and basketball, movies, especially gangster movies, and The Godfatherabove all. He was as delighted by Bird and Magic as he was by T.S. Eliot and King Lear. During the 1963 move to Claremont, he entertained his then-two young sons with the stories of Odysseus, and his office was a famous chaos of books and papers piled in seemingly incoherent stacks, in a filing system only he could decipher.

In his long career, he wrote nine books of literary criticism, including three in retirement while battling Parkinson’s. He was a noted scholar and expert on the works of Shakespeare, Dante, and James Joyce. He was selected to write the entry on Dante Alighieri for Encyclopedia Britannica.

His last book, North/South: The Great European Divide, in 2016, was a discussion of Protestant and Catholic Christianity and their effect on economic development. His first book,The Renaissance Discovery of Time(1972), is considered a standard of literary studies of the period.

Novelist Charles Johnson used Quinones’ book, The Changes of Cain, an exposition on the Cain-Abel theme in literature, to influence his 1998 historical novel, Dreamer, about the life of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.

In retirement, he also wrote five books of poetry. His poetry tended toward storytelling. He wrote a poem about the plane that went down in that Pennsylvania field on September 11 – Shanksville– and another about his memories at age 10 of the men returning from World War II.

As the disease withered his muscles and twisted his fingers and toes, he nevertheless held poetry events, with actors reading his work, combined with a cellist or a violinist.

Ricardo Quinones grew up in Allentown, PA, the second child of Laureano and Maria Elena Quinones: He an immigrant from Galicia, Spain and a worker in a brewery; she a worker in a sewing factory, born in America to a large family of immigrants from Calabria, Italy.

Laureano Quinones had been born an illegitimate child, abandoned by his mother in his seacoast village in Spain. Leaving her baby with relatives, Eliana Otero fled to Argentina and was never heard from again. Laureano was raised by an uncle, taking the uncle’s last name of Quinones. At 20, he left Spain and, alone, made his way to Puerto Rico, where he cut sugar cane, then to New York and finally to Allentown, PA, where he met and married Maria Elena Matriciano.

They lived in the First Ward, a teeming, densely packed neighborhood of immigrants from Italy, Poland, Hungary, and Syria, who had large families and came to the town for its easily available manufacturing jobs. Bethlehem Steel and Mack Trucks were among the mainstays of the town.

Growing up, Ricardo Quinones was an altar boy and a copy boy at the Allentown Morning Call newspaper, where he one night shepherded the news that Hank Williams had died.

A friendly priest channeled him into college, something rare for kids from the First Ward, where many parents had little education and spoke English poorly.

Like his father before him, he left the comfortable enclave and struck out into the world – taking a bus alone to Chicago and Northwestern University, a private school where upon his arrival he was the among the poorest students on campus.

Originally intending to be a journalist, he fell under the mentorship of Donald Torchiana, a Northwestern literature professor, and from there his career focus shifted to academia. 

At Northwestern, he also met his first love, Lolly Brown, a student from an upper-class family in Des Moines, Iowa. They were married in 1956. Their early days were spent in Europe on a Fulbright Scholarship, studying in Italy, Germany, and France, where he played basketball for a club in the town of Clermont-Ferrand. 

He came to Claremont as the town was morphing into a place of great musical, and artistic effervescence. His friends were poets and artists, then later political scientists and economists. His sons attended Oakmont Elementary, El Roble Junior High, and Claremont High School, and he sent them to Berkeley, Yale, and CMC.

He encountered death too young. His mother died when he was 11; his father when he was 22. His second son, Nathanael, died at 18 in a car accident in February, 1979, followed by his wife, who died of cancer that May.

After that, he raised his two youngest sons – Ben and Josh – alone. They went on to become attorneys. His oldest son, Sam, is a journalist and author.

In the late 1990s, he met Roberta Johnson, a literature professor at Kansas University specializing in Spanish women writers. They fell in love and married in 1998. One of his books of poetry is titled Roberta. She cared for him through his illness, along with his wonderful caregivers, Anthony, Marlon and Ferdie. 

In 2008, he survived the rupture of an aortic aneurysm, something few have done.  Then, in a kind of slow-motion torture over many years, Parkinson’s took most of what made the man. He could only shuffle toward the end. Yet he wrote every day, pecking away through each morning, until the very end, when it took that from him, too.

Apart from cigars, Italian food and red wine, books were the only material possessions he loved. At his home, his shelves remain the earthly expression of his fertile mind. In his stacks is Heaven: A History, and The History of Hell. One of his favorite poets, the storyteller Robert Frost, stands in between Joe Stalin and Martin Luther; Henry Kissinger’s World Order next to Lord of the Flies — testament to how he enjoyed throwing ideas together and seeing what the collision produced.

On Christmas Eve, when his sons’ families were about to meet for dinner, they thought it best he not come over but instead head to a hospital for his low blood pressure. It didn’t seem safe. But he insisted on being at the dinner. Demanded it. Marlon Batiller, his dearest caretaker, told him, if you can stand, I’ll take you. He stood. On this, his last family Christmas dinner, more fragile than ever, he read For the Union Dead by poet Robert Lowell.

A few weeks later, on his last time out of bed, he asked Marlon to pull him up and into his wheelchair, and roll him into the dining room. There, on the table, sat the readings for his next project. It was to be a book about the 1800s, though he wasn’t sure yet what. His reading for it included Treasure IslandHuckleberry Finn, biographies of U.S. Grant, Napoleon, and others.

He’d grown to love Grant. He added him to his list of favorite presidents and defended him vigorously as mistreated by history. 

That morning, emaciated, he sat in his wheelchair beside his books. He held the Grant biography. Then he leafed through the Napoleon. The books were new, and thick, and heavy and he re-read a bit from each. 

Finally, he placed them back on the table and he sat in the chair in silence just looking at them one last time. And after a great long while like that, he asked Marlon to wheel him down the hall and back to the bed, where, two days later, he died.

A public memorial service will be held Sunday, April 7 at 12:30pm at the CMC Athenaeum.


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53 Responses to Ricardo J. Quinones: 1935-2019

  1. Such a wonderful obituary you have written, Sam. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting your father, your obit seems to have captured the essence of a wonderful man whose accomplishments were both academic and personal. I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost both parents within six months and my only surviving sibling less than two years later. Beyond publications and accomplishments, your fathers legacy lives through you and your brothers, most importantly in the values he instilled. He would have been proud of what you have written.

  2. W. L. Berrigan

    Very sad to read of your father’s passing. I had Googled his name hoping to perhaps contact him, in order to simply say thank you, for The Changes of Cain. It is absolutely brilliant.

  3. Jonathan Hart

    Please accept my belated condolences to Roberta, you and the family. I was honoured to meet Ricardo long after I first read his fine book on the Renaissance discovery of time. It was also an honour to give one of the Ricardo J. Quinones Distinguished Lectures and also to write on his work. I will miss him, his kindness and the beauty and perspicacity of his words.

  4. Timothy W. Wright III

    Thank you so much for this email. I just left L.A. on Monday to return to Chicago. Regrettably, I will be unable to return to L.A. this weekend due to a prior obligation in Chicago. However, I hope to see you and your family at graduation if you decide to come. Please know that the memory of Ricardo J. Quinones will forever be etched in the essence of my existence. What an outstanding person, professor and friend he was to me. Not only did his lectures bring a vivid animation to Dante’s Inferno, his warm friendship and genuine caring brought a comfort and joy to many, especially me!

    I think Rick was almost singlehandedly responsible for my matriculation through Claremont Men’s. He would counsel and encourage me, push me when I needed to be pushed, or place his arm around me when he knew I needed to be comforted. He saw me dismissed from school for leading student protests as the Black Union Chairperson, yet encouraged me to fight for reinstatement so that I might be the first in my family with a college diploma. The most amazing feat your father performed on my behalf was on an occasion when we were celebrating the impending graduation of the seniors, of which I was one. When we had filled ourselves with sufficient, or maybe more than sufficient, quantities of libations ( you know your Dad outdrank us all, right?) As a few of us students were walking home, we happened by a record store whose windows were open, somebody put their arm in the window and the silent alarm was activated. To make a long story short, I was the only one charged with burglary (although nothing was taken from the store) and had to face a trial that would have prevented me, if convicted, from graduating. I was a assigned a public defender who had never tried a case. So me and your Dad research and carefully read the law, designed the defense, your Dad became the chief witness, I managed the public defender to execute the defense your dad and I designed. In the end, with your Dad winking to me from audience, the jury came back with a unanimous decision of not guilty! The rest is history, I went on to Law School at UCLA to become the commencement speaker at graduation, and the Chief Justice of the UCLA Moot Court Honors Program.

    Sam, if I had a dollar for all of the times me and your Dad would chuckle over that I’d be a rich man. Your Dad was an extraordinary man. I know of all of his books and all of his literary distinctions, awards and honors, but in addition to those things, he was of a sterner stuff. God placed something very rare in him that allowed him to give of himself to all those who entered into his domain and space. He gave a very special something that was the essence of his being, and I was blessed to find myself in that time/space that gave me occasion to experience it. I’ll never forget Rick. Whenever I came back to campus I thought of Rick. With his passing, he is a greater presence on campus than ever before. When I walk on campus now, he walks with me. If you see me talking to myself on campus, that’s me and him chuckling over how many “rusty nails” I drank that night. Thank you Sam, thank you for reaching out to me and allowing me this moment to be with my friend once again. I pray God’s peace upon you and your family.

    Tim Wright

  5. Dan Caton

    Sam and family,

    Like others I am much saddened by this news.

    I am a 1970 grad, as several others here are, and your father played a large role in my college experience and life. I started as a freshman certain I would be a Political Science major. I soon found those classes boring and irrelevant to my interests, so I cast about and happened to take a Shakespeare class from your father. It was electrifying and transforming, and I changed my major to Literature and never regretted it.

    After college I went into teaching, in part because of your father’s example, and taught literature and history to middle schoolers. I eventually went into publishing and it became my career, one I enjoyed thoroughly until I retired a few years ago. I thought of your father over the decades occasionally and hoped I brought some of his zest and humor and energy to my work. So as usual with great men, the ripples in the pond spread far more widely than he would ever have known.

    By the way, I remember the moment in class when I decided to change majors. He was comparing some character in Shakespeare to a western gunslinger and said that “his holstered guns hung down like a Jersey bull’s testicles.”

    I was hooked. And still am.

    Dan Caton

  6. Tom Moore

    I remember taking a Renaissance Lit. class from the good doctor centuries ago. It was held in the afternoons and naturally a few of us got a bit sleepy. Especially at risk were the guys in the back row, who found the wall a very convenient resting place for their heads. Well, as we all know, Dr. Quinones was quite the baseball player—perhaps single A material at one time—and so he would grab an eraser (the black, felt, chalk-covered kind) and hurl it the heads of the sleepers. Mostly, he would miss, leaving chalky eraser marks on the wall. I only got hit once, and it was kind of a honor. I doubt such brutality would be tolerated today. Alas.

    Tom Moore, ‘67

  7. Mark Durrett, CMC ‘76

    Sam, thanks so much for the stories of your Dad’s life. I had him for Dante back in 1976 and it was a highlight of my life. I am a Presbyterian pastor in South Carolina and I have made a journey through the Divine Comedy several times with parishioners and every time I am grateful for the sweet moments spent in an eight person class going through the Comedy line by line and canto by canto with your father as guide. It was a life shaping semester and one for which I am eternally grateful. My condolences to you and your family, my gratitude to God for your Dad’s great passions and the love he shared with me and so many more at CMC.

  8. Niru Parmar

    Dear Sam, I just read of your father’s passing and wanted to say a few words. He definitely made an impression on me in my senior year at CMC. I still have the book he wrote and used during our seminar course, “Mapping Literary Criticism.” I am a high school English teacher and your father definitely had a hand in shaping my love of literature. Please know that his impact, on all those fortunate to meet him, will continue to be treasured.

  9. samquinones

    Hello Sam: I just read in an email from CMC about your father’s death. I don’t know what kind of person he was, I only know what I experienced as a student at CMC between 1964-1968, and took several classes from Dr. Quinones. He did what teaching ought to do but rarely does, which is to make the subject matter come alive. His performance as a teacher was the gold standard, a reference for all who would aspire for the best of what great teaching can do for a student. His teaching opened windows to a whole new world and changed me for the better. I deeply regret now that I did not thank him when he was alive as he deserved to be thanked. But I had to become old myself in order to see what happened when I was young. Sincerely, Martin Tornheim

  10. samquinones

    Dear Family of Dr. Quinones:

    I am unable to attend the memorial service for Dr. Quinones as I live in New Jersey, but wanted to pass along the following memory:

    My memory of Dr. Quinones was my freshman year, 1963, first assembly in the Berger Hall Lounge to review the books assigned for summer reading. Dr. Q entered, sat down and proceeded to identify each freshman in the room by first and last name without making one mistake. The man had memorized our Look Book (no computers in those days)! He had a few comments about our hair style changes and clothing, but we were all totally blown away by this introduction to him and CMC.

    I’ve never forgotten the event and was totally intimidated by him for my entire 4 years. That was my misfortune as I have subsequently learned how brilliant and caring a man he was and would have profited by taking some of his courses. Many of my classmates have commented how great a teacher he was and how he made the literature they studied come alive.

    Dr. Quinones is a loss to academia, CMC and to the great class of Claremont Men’s College of 1967. He will be remembered fondly.



    Robin Bartlett

  11. Dr. Joseph Spagna

    Oh, so sorry for your loss, Dr. Quinones’ sons. He taught my Dante class, and an informal weekly gathering on Yeats in 1995. What a remarkable gift to be drawn into his home in a group of young people to adopt, read aloud, and think deeply about the poems of Yeats, simply because, as he admitted later when I asked him if he had ever repeated this course, “No, that was a need I had, I was thinking at that time about aging. Yeats is the poet of old age, you know.” And though he was too humble to believe it, I did know, because I had learned from the best.
    Joe Spagna, CMC ’95.

  12. Tammie Calef

    Prof. Quinones will live forever in the fond memories of the many students he taught. I also took classes from him in the early 80’s. He was a fabulous teacher. I’m sorry to hear of his passing.

  13. Wallace

    om: Wallace Cole
    Subject: Your Father

    Message Body:
    Sam. I was one of your father’s students at Claremont in the late 1970s. He was not only inspiring teacher but one of the three or four people who made a meaningful impact on my life. His teaching aside, I remember him finding me one day in the always vacant locker room of the Harvey Mudd swimming pool. It must’ve taken some effort for him to find me, but I used the room as my “office” as it had a telephone. Needless to say, a rarity in those days. He was looking for me because he had looked over my transcript and wanted to tell me that with one more class I could be a double major with literature as my second. This, of course, would’ve added some weight to my degree. Without boring you with detail, the last course I needed was taught by the department head, not your father or I would’ve jumped at the offering. I told him I took all those literature courses and did all the reading for myself and my understanding, the degree was not important, I was in it for the writing. I thanked him for all he had done to enhance my life. He looked at me for minute, visibly moved he hugged me and kind of shuffled out mumbling something about teaching I couldn’t make out. He was a great man and I’m honored to have known him and studied under him. My loss as yours, Wallace

  14. Rod Liner

    This was my favorite teacher at Claremont. He arrived from Harvard the same year I arrived at cmc. I had a double major – history and literature because of him
    I took five lit courses from him,
    At the end of our Renaissance lit class we had one on one oral finals. We didn’t know what he’d ask us,

    I can remember clearly that day— trying to find a place to sit in that disheveled, tiny office. He looked me over, he the intellect and me the obvious jock, and said, “Rod, how would you explain the Renaissance to a six year old”. ( of course it turned out he was asking because his son was that age” )
    What would you have said?

    I thought, Columbus‼️‼️‼️
    I won’t bore you here but the breaking from the past, energy, risk, challenging assumptions — was the idea. (With examples of course).
    I learned a valuable teaching concept that day. Kiss. Keep it simple stupid. Make the complex simple. Not the simple complex.

    Once for a class project He also made dress up as Falstaff and memorize about 15 lines I still remember to this day.

    PS I got an A

    This was my favorite teacher at Claremont. He arrived from Harvard the same year I arrived at cmc. I had a double major – history and literature because of him
    I took five lit courses from him,
    At the end of our Renaissance lit class we had one on one oral finals. We didn’t know what he’d ask us,

    I can remember clearly that day— trying to find a place to sit in that disheveled, tiny office. He looked me over, he the intellect and me the obvious jock, and said, “Rod, how would you explain the Renaissance to a six year old”. ( of course it turned out he was asking because his son was that age” )
    What would you have said?

    I thought, Columbus‼️‼️‼️
    I won’t bore you here but the breaking from the past, energy, risk, challenging assumptions — was the idea. (With examples of course).
    I learned a valuable teaching concept that day. Kiss. Keep it simple stupid. Make the complex simple. Not the simple complex.

    Once for a class project He also made dress up as Falstaff and memorize about 15 lines I still remember to this day.

    PS I got an A


    Sent from my iPhone


    Sent from my iPhone

  15. Dana Wieger

    So sorry for your loss. This was a beautiful obituary. Thank you for sharing your father’s story. Sometimes you read and obituary and think you wish you knew what you learned when the person was alive. This was one of those. Clearly you inherited the genes of a great scholar. May his memory be a blessing.

  16. Rodney

    Deeply saddened. I had been thinking of Professor Q, yet I allowed too much time to get away. He was one of my favorites professors, and the only one with whom I could share my love of Shakespeare. Much saddness indeed, but I will choose to focus on the last time I saw him in Brentwood.

  17. Dan Altemus

    I just came upon the news of your father’s passing. I am sorry for your loss and please accept my condolences for your entire family.
    I, like Charlie Davis, was in the class of 70 at CMC and also took a Shakespeare course from your dad – it was wonderful and I will always think of your dad when I see a Shakespeare play. He was an open and gregarious soul who touched many young students. I suspect he was a kick as a dad. He will be missed.
    Warm regards,
    Dan Altemus

  18. Adam McLain

    Sam, we have never met, but thank you for your beautiful tribute to your father. I graduated from CMC in the late 90s and he was my favourite professor and the one whose classes I looked forward to every semester during my time in Claremont. I learned a lot from him but more importantly enjoyed his company and sense of humour, and I benefitted greatly from his ever-present devotion to his students. He was a great scholar and a great man. I am very sorry for your loss.

  19. Rob Martin


    I took several Shakespeare courses from Professor Quinones while I was at CMC in the ’90s. I still vividly recall his booming voice reciting Falstaff, and only Henry V spoke the St. Crispin’s Day speech as well. My condolences to you and your family, and Godspeed to Professor Quinones.

  20. Glenn Carlson

    Dear Sam, So sorry to hear about your father. I was a student during his early days at CMC. I first met him shooting baskets. It was after several games of HORSE that I decided to sign up for one of his courses. He made literature enjoyable. He became one of my favorite professors.

  21. Ángel Rallo Vallejo

    Really sorry about your loss. Your father has enriched many in many ways and you have expressed it beautifully. I would like to consider myself a small example of that since I read with admiration his great article about Dante on the “Britannica” last week (I am a Spaniard just like his ancestors and I live far away from the place where he wrote it) and wanted to find out who was the man that had penned it and what were his other works, since it seemed an important contribution to the history of Literature that only a scholar could have made.

  22. Charlie Davis

    In 1966 I started as a freshman at CMC. We were divided onto pods of maybe 8 people and Ricardo Quinones was the faculty member assigned to my pod. We talked a lot early on, and I always greeted him when I encountered him on or off campus. When I was a senior I took his course on Shakespeare’s histories and tragedies. It was the best course I took at CMC. Whenever I encounter the phrase the engineer is hoisted by his own petard I think of that class. I went to my class reunion 2010 and my class had the opportunity to invite a prof to join us. We invited Ric. It was great being with him and it provided a wonderful bookend to meeting him with 17 nd 18 year old classmates as freshmen.

    • samquinones

      Charlie — so nice of you to take the time to remember my father. we’re holding a celebration of his life on April 7 at CMC’s Athenaeum. if you’re in the area and free, please come. we’d be honored to have you.

  23. Samuel Reece

    Hello Sam

    I am sorry to learn of the passing of your father. I was a Literature major and a student-athlete at Claremont McKenna College during the ’70s. Your father was highly regarded as an intellectual giant at the College and around the nation. I admired him greatly. I came to understand that many of history’s literary giants like James Joyce and D.H. Lawrence and Dante would be nothing without people like Ricardo Quinones and Ricardo’s CMC literary colleague Langdon Elsbree, who devoted their lives to interpreting extremely complex works in order to make those works more understandable to millions and millions around the world. Their literary criticisms are as indispensable and as immortal as the works themselves.

    Over the years Ricardo and I developed this wonderful tradition that whenever we attended the same event at the College, we would exchange name tags before the event commenced. I would wear his name tag and pretend to be him and he would wear my name tag and pretend to be me. We agreed to present ourselves as caricatures of one another. It was a real hoot. We got a lot of fun out of this. I miss the sheer joy that I got out of this fun little prank, pretending to be Ricardo The Great.

    I will miss your father. He was a kind man of unsurpassed intellect. And a dear friend.

    Samuel Reece

    • samquinones

      Samuel Reece — Thanks so much for this wonderful note. I so appreciate it. I miss my dad so much.

      We’ll be holding a memorial for him at CMC on April 7. If you’re in the area, please feel free to attend, and/or let others know…..


      Sam Quinones

  24. Laura Field

    I never met him, and yet, I feel the void. I’m so sorry, Sam.

  25. Richard J Drake

    Sam, for the best—and I do mean best—part of four decades, I felt closer to your father than I ever did to anybody else I ever knew. Certainly no one brightened my outlook or enriched my life more than did RJQ.

    That first photo of him, in his office—right next to mine—on the third floor of Bauer Center (some time in the early nineties, I’d guess; I remember the photo session), captures precisely the image that I most often see whenever I think of him. During those years, when he was often the first person I’d see in the morning, and the last at night, I even managed to get familiar enough with the (apparent) disarray on those bookshelves to locate and fetch for him a particular volume—and bring it back to the house along with the next day’s *Racing Form*.

    I already miss him enormously.

  26. I’m so sorry for your loss. Sounds like a wonderful father and gentleman.

  27. A worthy tribute for an obviously worthy man. As a man almost your father’s age, I hope my children can honor me as you have your father

  28. Julie Pipes

    Sam, your father sounds like an amazing man. What an interesting life! You are lucky to have had him. I read your blog religiously and am waiting with baited breath your next book. I read Dreamland in two days. Enjoy happy memories of your accomplished father.

  29. Robert Harper-O'Connor

    I am sorry to hear, Sam, but glad for you that he was able to live to see the beginning of your success. He will rest in peace.

  30. Kate mulligan

    An extrodinary man. Thank you for sharing his life with strangers like myself. May his memory comfort your heart now and for the rest of your life.

  31. Amanda Marie

    I’m sorry for your loss. He must have been very proud of you. How hard for you to write such a powerful remembrance of your own father. But nothing can take away the memories.

  32. Todd Savage

    Sounds like a truly wonderful man. You are blessed, and sounds like very grateful as well. What an honor.

  33. Mr. Quinones – So sorry for your loss. Losing a parent is both painful and seminal. And yet, only the physical presence is gone; all the good your father did, and all the memories he created, live on.

    I will be thinking of you and yours in the days and weeks to come, and asking for comfort and peace amidst the grief.

    Bruce Maples

  34. Kieran Mahan


    My deepest sympathy to you and your family. What a wonderful tribute to your Dad. Hard to summarize someone’s life, but the obituary certainly gives us a feeling of a life well lived by a good and honorable person. In the end, that’s what most of us would like to hope for. Thank you for sharing.

  35. Shirley Omerigbo

    Sorry to hear this sad news. I met Rick and Lolly when Lolly worked at North San Antonio Elementary School in PUSD. You are Blessed to have had Rick and Lolly as parents…both so richly gifted. Didn’t see Rick a lot, but saw Lolly daily as she taught the Gifted and T.alented Class at North San…(now Barfield) The RICH Legacy you inherited will live on… Rest well, Rick.

  36. Kyle Fortson

    Dear Sam,

    Old friend, I am devastated, to hear of the passing of your father. I knew that he was had been battling Parkinson’s for some time. I have asked Josh about him, every time that we have spoken. He was a great man. A great father, to you band your brother’s. I always enjoyed seeing and talking with him. I have always thought of him as a lion, since that day, so long ago, when he eulogized Nate, descibing him one. Ric, to me, was a literary lion; with his mane of hair, beard, eyeglasses and welcoming smile. I will miss him too. May he rest in peace.

    Please accept the condolences of the Fortson Family, for the Quinones Family. God be with you all.

  37. Brent Kagan

    Sam and family,

    I am so sorry for your loss. Your father was a very interesting man. It is obvious that regarding his oldest, the apple did not fall far from the tree.


  38. Steve Fainaru

    Sam, what a lovely tribute to your dad, his life and his work. Peace to you and your family.

  39. Hélène Houle

    I second all above expressions of sympathy and would like to extend my sincere condolences. Thank you for writing his obituary and wish you healthy healing. Deeply sorry for your loss.

  40. Esther Dyson

    Honor where due. Thank you for sharing your memories of this wonderful man. You and your family were blessed!

  41. Peggy Adams

    Hi Sam, I am so sorry for your loss. I am sure he will be dearly missed. You did a good job outlining his life. And, Wow, what a great mentor your father must have been for you. I am impressed with such an accomplished man as your father and that he was just following his dreams. God bless you and family and may you continue to follow your dreams!

  42. My deepest condolences. You come from a very distinguished background, and continue to distinguish yourself .. Thanks for all that you do.


  43. Dear Sam,

    My deepest condolences to you and your family on the loss of your father. What an extraordinary life he had; thank you for sharing these details of his rich and inspiring life.

    I am guessing that your father may have known my great uncle Bob Mayo, then on the faculty at Northwestern (Comparative Literature), also one with an interest in James Joyce. In any event, we’re in a world smaller than we know.

    Take good care.

  44. Lisa Friedman

    Sorry for your loss Sam. A beautiful tribute.

  45. Steve Werber

    Mr. Quinones,
    I am very sorry for your loss. Your father led a remarkable life including raising you and your brothers. My blessings of peace to you and your family.

  46. Sylvia Quinones Sierra

    Such love and accomplishments by your father! May you continue to enjoy his rich legacy left behind that enriches our world.

  47. Jim Creechan

    A life well lived. A wonderful remembrance of a man I would have been pleased to know and have as a role model!

    • Ruby Lewis

      Reading this obituary, this man is someone i would have loved to have known. Would love to read his books. Such a great loss for each of you Sam. Find comfort in your memories, and, he made the world a much better place.

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