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Kenneth “Ken” Quinn

July 28, 1960 - September 3, 2020

  • Virtual Celebration
    Tuesday, September 8, 2020
  • Celebration of his life The Spring of 2021 Morton Arboretum
  • Burial Location
    Private

Kenneth “Ken” Quinn, 60 years young, passed away suddenly on Thursday, September 3, 2020. He leaves behind a trail of people across the country who dearly loved and admired him, who will miss his acerbic wit and wisdom, and who were changed for the better for having known him.

On the northwest coast, he is survived by his loving parents, Kenneth and Mary Quinn, of Spokane, Washington, as well as his brother, Clyde, and niece Jessica. Survived by three children, two of whom live in the Portland, Oregon area: Ryan and Christopher, as well as daughter-in-law Heather and granddaughter Maia. And in the Midwest, is Ken’s third child, Aran, and son-in-law Zachary Mooney of Downers Grove; as well as stepsons Benton and Jonathan Pellet of Geneva. Strewn all over the New England states are many, many in-laws who loved Ken — and his BBQ ribs. And throughout many states in the country, Ken is survived by aunts, uncles, cousins, and dear friends.

He is also survived — and will be forever missed and loved — by his wife, Sarah, of Geneva.

Second only to his love of his family, was Ken’s love for science, computers, and physics. He spent 20 years as an electrical engineer with Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (Fermilab) in Batavia. He started as a technician in the Proton Source Department in 1999, initially working on maintaining and upgrading the linear accelerator. After getting dual electrical engineering and computer engineering degrees from Illinois Institute of Technology in 2006, he transferred to the Electrical Engineering Support Department, where he worked on new accelerator technology. He was the lead engineer on the lithium lens and pulsed magnet power supplies, and his innovative design was granted a patent in August 2020. He was leading the design of the LBNF Horn power supply, which will produce approximately 1.21 Gigawatts of peak pulsed power. These systems are critical to future scientific research at Fermilab.

Prior to his work at Fermilab, Ken worked at Commonwealth Edison in Illinois and for Florida Power & Light’s Turkey Point nuclear power plant in Miami. He served honorably in the Navy from 1979-1987 as a nuclear reactor operator.

Ken loved the outdoors, going to concerts, and most especially, cooking for those he loved. He lived life to the fullest. He will be sorely missed by all who knew him.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Ken’s name to the Morton Arboretum, one of his favorite places in Illinois at https://giving.mortonarb.org/tribute. Please make sure to mention Ken Quinn’s name in the field provided. We are planning to dedicate a bench in his name. A celebration of his life will be planned for spring of 2021 at the Arboretum. A virtual celebration will be held on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.

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Condolences


Wendy Pavlecic and Tim Devitt from WEST CHICAGO, IL

"Sarah and family - So very sorry for your tragic loss. As Billy Joel sang, only the good die young and that certainly describes this. We're only a town away, so don't hesitate to reach out....."


Maurice Ball from Lisle, IL

"I enjoyed working with Ken at Fermilab and will miss his friendly personality. My sincere condolences and thoughts go out to Ken's family."


Kent Triplett from Warrenville, IL

"I had the opportunity to work with Ken at the Lab. His experience, intelligence, and willingness to help made him an exceptional engineer. He always pushed for excellence. Ken will be missed at the Lab, it was my pleasure to have worked with him."


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