Quin Denvir died on June 4, 2016, with his wife and children at his side. He was diagnosed four years ago with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung disease. He was hospitalized late last month and died at Sutter Medical Center in Sacramento. He was 76 years old.
Born on the South Side of Chicago on May 27, 1940, to parents Paul Francis and Dorothy (Ryan) Denvir, Quin had been a Davis resident since 1975. He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Ann Isabel (Gallagher) Denvir; his daughter, Karen Ryan Denvir (married to Anthony Hakl); his son, Paul Gallagher Denvir; grandsons Quin Denvir, 15, Ryan Hakl, 14, John Denvir, 13, Colin Hakl, 12, Frankie Denvir, 11, and Tommy Denvir, 7; and brothers John Denvir and James Denvir.
Quin's personal and professional accomplishments were numerous and extraordinary. Those closest to him will remember him as loving his true love Ann, with whom he shared an enduring bond. They will also remember him as a loving son, brother, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin, and friend. He was loved and respected immensely in return. Many people will miss him.
In 1958, Quin graduated from Chicago's Saint Ignatius College Preparatory School where he was a National Merit Scholarship finalist. He earned a Navy ROTC Scholarship and attended Notre Dame University. He graduated cum laude in 1962 with a degree in English. He spent four years as a Lieutenant in the United States Navy, serving as a Supply Officer and also working in the Pentagon for the Secretary of the Navy. Quin earned a master's degree in Economics from American University in Washington, D.C. in 1966. He graduated with honors from the University of Chicago law school in 1969.
Quin's practice of law stretched across five decades. His first job was with the prestigious law firm Covington & Burling in Washington, D.C. He left that practice in 1971 to take a position in El Centro with California Rural Legal Assistance, a nonprofit legal group that represents migrant laborers and the poor. Later in the 1970's, Quin worked as a public defender in Monterey County, and during his first term as Governor, Edmund G. Brown Jr. appointed Quin chief counsel for the California State Department of Health. In 1978, Governor Brown appointed Quin State Public Defender, a position he held for six years.
In 1984, Quin returned to private practice, first as a partner in the Sacramento office of Marron, Reid & Sheehy for about three years, and then as a sole practitioner specializing in criminal defense. In 1996, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit appointed Quin the Federal Public Defender for the Eastern District of California. He remained at that post until his formal retirement in 2005. In recent years, Quin continued to manage a handful of cases from his home office. He also served as of counsel to both Rothschild Wishek & Sands LLP and Lightfoot Steingard & Sadowsky LLP.
Quin's legal career has been chronicled in the local and national press over the years. He will be remembered as a complete lawyer, capable of handling most any kind of case. But he will be remembered mostly as a devoted advocate for the indigent, from the notorious to the relatively unknown; an exemplary appellate attorney who handled scores of appeals in state and federal courts, including three at the United States Supreme Court; and an ardent foe of the death penalty.
In addition to his family and the practice of law, Quin was a lover of words, both written and spoken. He read every day and maintained an impressive library of collectible books. He was devoted to conversation, often over a beer. He prayed and attended Catholic mass regularly. He loved Notre Dame. He made a point to enjoy the outdoors, particularly hiking. He walked all over Davis regularly and for long stretches. In earlier years, he covered many miles in and out of town on his bicycle. He was a patron of music and the arts. Quin and Ann travelled all over the United States. They frequented national parks and presidential libraries. They also toured the world.
A funeral mass will be held on Tuesday, June 14, 2016, at 10:00 a.m. at St. James Catholic Church in Davis. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, the Denvir family would be honored if you considered a donation to California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ) Foundation or the CACJ Political Action Committee.
Tuesday, June 14, 2016
St. James Catholic Church
1275 B Street
Davis, CA 95616