Pat Quinlan, co-founder of Canada's Quinlan Brothers, passes away

Published on
December 18, 2017

Pat Quinlan, founder and president of Canadian seafood processor Quinlan Brothers. Ltd., died on 15 December, following a short illness. He was 88 years old.

Pat Quinlan helped build his company so that it became the primary processor of most of seafood caught in Newfoundland. In recent years, Quinlan Brothers and Quin-Sea Fisheries, both part of the Quinlan Group of Companies, employed more than 2,000 people, processing mostly snow crab and shrimp and selling to customers in Canada, the United States, Europe, and Asia, according to a profile in Canadian Business Executive.

“It is with deep sadness that we acknowledge the passing of our founder and president,” Quinlan Brothers, based in St. John’s, Newfoundland, said in a statement. “All of our employees, customers, and clients will surely miss Pat. He was a remarkable person who touched the lives of so many over his long-lived years dedicated to our business and our industry.”

In 1954, Pat and his brother, Maurice, received a late-night visit from a close friend, Josephine O’Neill, who was recently widowed. She asked for help with a business, J.F. O’Neill’s Grocery and Dry Goods, which “she knew nothing about and didn’t want to keep,” Quinlan Brothers said on its website.

“Neither Pat nor Maurice knew much about the fishery at that time and, as Pat would say, ‘We didn’t have two nickels to rub together,’” Quinlan Bros. said. However, O’Neill loaned Maurice and Pat money to buy the business from her.

The business began as a simple fish-buying station, and then expanded into buying and cutting cod fillets. Later, the two brothers built the first fresh cod fish plant in the community.

Newfoundland and Labrador Provincial Fisheries Minister Gerry Byrne said Quinlan Brothers demonstrated time and again the tenacity, grit, determination, and innovation required for success in the fishing industry, VOCM reported.

“[I’m] sad to hear of Pat Quinlan’s passing. His passion and dedication to the fishery was admired by many,” tweeted Dwight Ball, the premier of Newfoundland and Labrador.

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