William F. Quinn, 12th Territorial and 1st State Governor of Hawaii

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William Francis Quinn

Birthdate: (87)
Death: August 28, 2006 (87)
Immediate Family:

Son of Charles A. Quinn and Elizabeth Quinn
Husband of Nancy Ellen Witbeck

Managed by: Private User
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Immediate Family

About William F. Quinn, 12th Territorial and 1st State Governor of Hawaii


William Francis Quinn (July 13, 1919 – August 28, 2006) was the Governor of the Territory of Hawaii from 1957 to 1959 and the Governor of the State of Hawaii from 1959 to 1962. Originally appointed to the office by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, Quinn was the last executive of an era of Republican rule over the Hawaiian Islands which began during the overthrow of the monarchy in 1893, and the last Republican to serve as Governor until Linda Lingle in 2002. Quinn appeared as a guest on the television program "What's My Line". He was the recipient of the Order of the Holy Sepulchre, a papal knighthood conferred by Pope John Paul II.

Early years

Quinn was born in Rochester, New York on July 13, 1919. His family moved to St. Louis, Missouri during his youth, where he attended prep school at St. Louis University High School and college at St. Louis University, graduating in 1940. Quinn entered Harvard Law School, but only finished after his stint in the military. He graduated cum laude in 1947. He served in Hawaii in naval intelligence during World War II. Upon his discharge from service, he settled permanently in Honolulu, Hawai'i.

Law and political career

In 1949, in a deal involving homestead development of the area of Waimea in Hawaii County, as a lawyer with Parker Ranch attorney Garner Anthony, Quinn brokered a deal with the Territorial Land Office and Hawaiian Homes Commission to allow the ranch a more lengthy period of time in which to evacuate the property.

Quinn involved himself in territorial politics and ran for the Hawaii Territorial Senate in 1956.

Quinn worked closely with Congressional Delegate John A. Burns on the Hawaii Statehood Commission. President Dwight D. Eisenhower appointed Quinn Governor of the Territory of Hawaii in 1957. In 1959, he defeated challenger John A. Burns to win the new state's first gubernatorial election. In 1961, Governor Quinn was Grand Marshall of the Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California. During the 1962 gubernatorial election, a challenge from Lieutenant Governor James Kealoha split the vote, throwing the election to the Democrat John A. Burns.

In 1976, Quinn ran for the United States Senate, an election he lost to Spark Matsunaga.

Later years and personal life

Quinn married Nancy Ellen Witbeck and the couple had seven children. They were members of the Portlock Road Association.

He was president of Dole Pineapple Company from 1965 to 1972, and chairman of the board of both the Honolulu Symphony and the East-West Center.

Quinn lectured, occasionally traveled on the public speaking circuit serving as a Republican elder statesman, and spent time with his family in Hawai'i. A devout Catholic, he was the recipient of a papal knighthood in the Order of The Holy Sepulchre.

He was a dedicated actor and singer in the Honolulu Light Opera. His most notable role was in the 1940s production of Brigadoon.

In March 2006, Quinn was injured in a fall and never fully recovered. He died on August 28, 2006, and is buried at National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.

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William F. Quinn, 12th Territorial and 1st State Governor of Hawaii's Timeline

July 13, 1919
August 28, 2006
Age 87