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Published: Tuesday, 5/28/2002

March of Dimes rejuvenator was expert gardener

Julia Quinlan, 89, who volunteered in many area hospital guilds, was active in garden clubs, and was secretary in her late husband's medical practice, died May 19 in St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center.

She had been in poor health for about three years, suffering from heart attacks, strokes, and other problems, her nephew, Frederick Nelson, said. She never fully recovered from breaking a hip last year. She lived in Perrysburg Commons assisted living center.

Mrs. Quinlan was a member of the women's guilds of St. Luke's, St. Charles, St. Vincent's, and Flower hospitals. In 1962, the March of Dimes honored her for her part in rejuvenating the organization locally.

She won top awards for flower arranging and belonged to the Garden Club Forum and Spade and Trowel Garden Club. She was once honored as Garden Club Council Woman of the Year.

She belonged to the Scandinavian club, the Oregon Historical Society, and St. Paul's Lutheran Church, where she had been a president of the church women. She also had led the children's service club of Lutheran Social Services.

Mrs. Quinlan volunteered with Mobile Meals, the Lutheran Old Folks Home, and Crosby Gardens.

She was born in Mount Jewett in northern Pennsylvania, one of the youngest of 10 children. Her parents, who were Swedish immigrants, operated a tannery, a small coal mine, and other businesses.

She graduated from high school during the Depression and moved to Toledo, where one of her brothers had a job with Sun Oil Refinery. She lived with his family and worked as a housekeeper in area homes until she married Dr. James Quinlan.

They moved to Starr Avenue in East Toledo, and his offices were in the basement of their home. He wanted to be close to his poorest patients in the Birmingham area and said his other patients could afford to travel to see him.

During the Depression, he often accepted tomatoes and chickens from patients who had no money to pay, and then he would give their food away. He was so distressed by the babies who were deformed because of malnutrition that he did not want children of his own, his nephew said.

Mrs. Quinlan was his secretary from the time they married.

For about 20 years, they spent summers at a vacation house on a lake in Canada. After her husband's death in 1977, Mrs. Quinlan traveled extensively.

She moved from the Starr Avenue home to Moline in Wood County, then to Heatherdowns Boulevard in South Toledo. She lived in Perrysburg Commons for about 10 years.

She enjoyed her homes and liked to entertain. “She was a perfectionist,” her nephew said. “She had the flowers arranged a certain way. Everything had to match.”

There are no immediate survivors.

Memorial services will be at 1:30 p.m. June 5 in St. Paul's Lutheran Church and June 9 in Park Plan Cemetery, Bradford, Pa. Foth-Dorfmeyer Mortuary is handling arrangements. The family requests tributes to St. Paul's Lutheran Church Foundation, Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Little Sisters of the Poor, or a charity of the donor's choice.



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