Theology and Professional Ethics Professor Fr. James Quinn Dies
The Rev. James J. Quinn, S.J., who taught philosophy and professional ethics at Creighton University for more than 50 years, died Monday night at Froedert Hospital in Milwaukee. His remaining sibling, Antoinette, was with him when he died. He was 87.
Visitation will begin at 6 p.m. Thursday, July 13, in the Round Chapel at St. Camillus in Milwaukee, followed by the Funeral Mass at 7 p.m. The burial is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, July 14, at Calvary Cemetery in Milwaukee.
Born in Chicago, in December 1918, Fr. Quinn entered the seminary in Florissant, Mo., in 1937 and was ordained a priest in 1950. His colleagues describe him as a gentle, compassionate teacher who truly cared about his students. Fr. Quinn first came to Creighton in 1953 to teach English and philosophy. He remained at Creighton until his move to St. Camillus in 2003.
Fr. Quinn was the last of the official Jesuit Counselors of the School of Medicine, serving from 1961-1969. He felt a need to educate the Health Sciences students in the humanities to help them better interact with their patients. He took a three-year leave of absence in 1969 to study medical morals at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome, receiving a Ph.D. in 1972. He returned to Creighton where he established the humanities program in the School of Medicine, which remains a part of the curriculum today.
“He was student centered in his teaching and, as a longtime member of the School of Medicine Admissions Committee, was dedicated to attracting quality students. Perhaps his single most important act was to establish the program of medical humanities in the School of Medicine,” said Richard O’Brien, M.D., professor in Creighton’s Center for Health Policy and Ethics and former vice president for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine.
The Rev. Lawrence W. Flanagan, S.J., a retired Jesuit who was in the seminary with Fr. Quinn and worked with him since 1950, said friendships meant a lot to Fr. Quinn and that despite the “obligations he had that would make most people feel pressured, Fr. Quinn made it a point to stay in touch with his friends and former students.”
After receiving his education at St. Louis University, where he received an undergraduate degree in the classics in 1942, a doctorate in philosophy in 1944, a master of arts in the classics in 1945, and a licentiate in sacred theology (S.T.L.) in 1951, Fr. Quinn taught English at Regis High School in Denver. The following year, he taught Latin and Philosophy at Regis College. From there, he went on to teach theology and philosophy at St. Mary’s College in Kansas and St. Louis University in Missouri.
During his time at Creighton, Fr. Quinn also served as director of hospitals for the Archdiocese of Omaha in 1972, moderator of the Catholic Physicians Guild and in 1976 as president of the Nebraska Conference of the Catholic Hospital Association. Most recently he was the treasurer of the Tri-area Urban Indian Health Resources Association from 1975-85.