Cover photo for Phillip (Phil) J.  Quillin's Obituary
Phillip (Phil) J.  Quillin Profile Photo

Phillip (Phil) J. Quillin

d. August 30, 2015

Phillip John Quillin (Phil) passed away on Sunday, August 30, 2015, at his home surrounded by family.

Phil was born October 14, 1936 to Edward J. Quillin and Greta (Riley) Quillin in Waukon, Iowa and spent the majority of his life as an active resident of La Crosse.

Phil is survived by his loving wife and lifelong partner of 56 years Barbara (Stuber) Quillin; daughter Sue of Springdale, Arkansas; son Mike and daughter-in-law Barb (Weber) of Onalaska; grandchildren of whom he was so proud, Kyle and Casi; brothers and sisters-in-law Lyle and Sandy Quillin and Larry and Barb Quillin of La Crosse; sister-in-law Pat Stuber of Onalaska; brother in law Mike Stuber; multiple nieces and nephews and numerous friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother James.

Phil enjoyed talking to everyone—he never met a stranger. He would delay family dinners out in a good-hearted way by stopping to talk to half the restaurant before he sat down. His favorite pastimes were enjoying fun times with family and friends, giving life advice to his much-loved grandchildren, telling a few stories or jokes, visiting with valued customers and team members in the stores, contributing to the community, ‘snowbird’ trips to Florida with friends and other travel, in town golfing or out of town golf trips with the guys (he surprised himself with a hole-in-one in Fort Myers, Florida in 2009) and of course the Packers. A bucket list item for him was attending the winning Packers’ Super Bowl game in Dallas in 2010.

Education has always been important to Phil. He attended Holy Trinity Catholic Grade School, Aquinas High School (1950-54) and graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa in 1958 with an Accounting Degree.

Phil continued that commitment to education through his work with the Holy Trinity Men’s Club, serving as Business Instructor for the first Supermarket Management course at Western Wisconsin Technical Institute in the late 1960’s, and serving as President and Board member of the Aquinas Foundation of Aquinas Catholic Schools, from which he received the Bishop John Paul Distinguished Alumni Award. The University of Wisconsin La Crosse honored Phil as a Hall of Fame supporter. Phil and Barb also have been long-time supporters of the Boys and Girls Club of La Crosse and he is a member of their Wall of Fame.

Devotion to the La Crosse community is a responsibility Phil took seriously. He instilled in his family while they were growing up: “support our local businesses and community because La Crosse has been good to us—it’s our responsibility to give back.” He served in many capacities: active engagement in Holy Trinity Parish; President and Board Member of the La Crosse Convention Bureau; Chairman of Fundraising for the Cancer and Research Building for Mayo Health Systems—receiving Mayo’s Spheres of Influence Award; United Way Chairman; YMCA Board; a Charter Member of Crime Stoppers and other community activities. Phil was awarded the Civic Recognition Award to inspire people to help others and improve their communities.

Phil was an active member of Rotary Club for 52 years, serving on the Board and as President (1981-82). He was one of the founders of the La Crosse Rotary Foundation—recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow for contributions to Rotary and civic activities. He was a supporter of Rotary Lights and received the Rotary Club Lifetime Achievement Award in 2015. He has also been a member of the Moose Lodge, Knights of Columbus, Eagles Club and Elks Club.

Festivals are an important part of La Crosse’s community culture—Phil and Barb were active supporters. Phil was 1983 Oktoberfest Maple Leaf Parade Marshall, he and Barb were Shillelagh Club supporters of Irish Fest and they were the first River Fest Commodore and First Mate in 1984—he was one of the early founders of creating a festival for the 4th of July.

In 2014, Phil and Barb were honored to be recognized with The Pope John XXIII Award. The award is the highest non-academic award bestowed by Viterbo University with recipients chosen on the basis of contributions in one or several categories: education, business, philanthropy, peace and justice, and religious life.

Many in the community think of Phil as a part of Quillin’s IGA. Business was important to Phil for his family and serving the community. Early in his life, Phil was proud to serve in America’s military as an active member of the Army for six months followed by six years in the Army Reserve. Immediately following active duty, he joined the family grocery business his parents started in 1945 on La Crosse Street, where he and his brothers worked as kids bagging potatoes or riding with delivery boys to take groceries to customers’ homes. He worked at Quillin’s until he retired in 2012.

The Quillin’s, Inc. Team Members proudly supported various local efforts over the years, served numerous people in La Crosse and other communities and gave many their first or career jobs. The Quillin’s Team was awarded National IGA Retailer of the Year in 1981. Phil also served on the Board of First Federal Bank, was a partner in the Village Shopping Center Corporation (VSC), served in the Wisconsin Grocers Association (WGA), served seven years on the Board for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) and was an active member of the Independent Grocers Share Group for many years.

The family will greet visitors for a celebration of Phil’s life on Wednesday, September 2, 2015 from 4 pm to 7 pm and Thursday, starting at 9:00 AM, prior to the memorial mass at Holy Trinity Catholic Parish, 1333 S. 13th Street, La Crosse, WI.

A Mass of Christian burial will be on Thursday September 3, 2015, at 10:30 AM at Holy Trinity Catholic Parish. Rev. Rick Roberts and Rev. Robert Cook will concelebrate. A private family burial will be in the La Crosse Catholic Cemetery the following day.

The family would like to extend a heartfelt thanks to the numerous family, friends and medical staff who have supported Phil and Barb throughout his courageous battle with cancer over the years. Your love and support is much appreciated.

Phil will be truly missed by family and friends for his spirit and commitment to faith, family, friendship, value of hard work, community, education, investment in the future and most importantly enjoying life with an Irish smile for everyone. He made an impact on so many in his lifetime.

The family requests that we respect Phil’s wishes of commitment to education and investment in children for our future by sending memorials instead of flowers to:

May the road rise up to meet you…

And until we meet again, may God hold you in the palm of his hand.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Phillip (Phil) J. Quillin, please visit our flower store.


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