Extension’s Quinlan dies at 52

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 3, 2000

Dan Vermilyea at middle-age has met a lot of people in his life.

Monday, December 04, 2000

Dan Vermilyea at middle-age has met a lot of people in his life.

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Not all of them have been nice.

That changed about nine years ago, when Vermilyea made a friend for life.

"One of the nicest people I ever met was Dave Quinlan," Vermilyea said. "He had the ability to get things done, but like the Minnesota Vikings receiver, Randy Moss, he did it so effortlessly that it didn’t seem like hard work. He was a rare human being."

Vermilyea, chairman of the Mower County Extension Service Committee, is only one of those who were devastated at the news of the death of Quinlan on Thursday at the age of 52.

Funeral services for are set for 10:30 a.m. Monday at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Austin.

That a man, so obviously enthusiastic about life would die before his time, only makes this death harder to accept.

Wherever Quinlan went, he brought life and the joy of living it to the fullest.

He was a former agriculture education teacher in Iowa before he joined the Iowa State Extension Service in Tama and Boone, Iowa.

In 1992, he and his wife, Annette, and their family moved to Austin, where he took a job with the Mower County Extension Service.

There was both the public Quinlan and the private. He distinguished himself in many ways, helping to restructure and refocus the Extension Service, colleagues said. He brought his team-building skills to the forefront in every endeavor, said others who worked with him.

And, like Vermilyea said, he did it with a special style and grace.

"To me, Dave was a true collaborator," said Ann Walter, a Mower County Extension Service educator who worked with Quinlan. "He created partnerships and brought so many things and resources together."

Kendall Langseth, a Freeborn County Extension Service educator, also remembers Quinlan’s team-building and other skills.

"He tried to put people at ease and to make sure that everyone’s viewpoint was heard.

Friends and co-workers remember his infectious laugh. Close friends recall a fun-loving man, who could sing karoke with best friend Bruce Henrichs and others. Always, there was the laugh, as much at his own human foibles as others.

Meanwhile, the public saw an earnest man, helping write the county’s feedlot rules and balance the needs of agriculture with the protection of the environment.

Or, saw the man each August at the Mower County Fair, helping 4-Hers through their paces.

How many people knew this public figure was the facilitator of the county’s Master Gardener program? He had a wealth of knowledge and an answer for every query about trees, flowers, shrubs and garden vegetables, as well as crops.

As his co-workers fumbled through a Friday without their friend and Extension Service peer, the awkward moments of silence were interrupted with yet another Dave Quinlan story.

"Dave was a thinker," said Walter, who joined the Mower County Extension Service only 2 1/2 weeks after he came here from Iowa. "He could see the big picture. He was a leader, but the gentle and supportive kind."