Francis Eugene Quinn


Francis Eugene Quinn, 88 passed away on Tuesday, June 23rd at U of L hospital in Louisville KY.

Francis was born September 14, 1931 in Whitehall, MT, to Daniel J. Quinn and Mary Margaret Murphy. He graduated from Whitehall High School in 1950, where he excelled in music, athletics, mathematics and science. Francis was an accomplished trumpet player, achieving All State Trumpet Selection, First Chair. He was frequently called upon to play "Taps" at many military funerals in the area. He was a seven-time letterman, and played in Montana's first State Class C basketball championship game.

His scholastic achievements earned him a 2nd alternate appointment to the United States Naval Academy. Francis enlisted in the United States Navy in 1951. After boot camp in San Diego he was sent to Jacksonville then Memphis for technical training. From there, he was stationed at Moffett Field in San Francisco where he remained for the duration of his service, honorably discharged as a First-Class Chief Petty Officer. Some of his military friends included famous country singer George Jones. While stationed at Moffett Field, Francis was called upon to play the trumpet during the lowering of the flag, and was awarded a Good Conduct Medal for his commitment.

After finishing his military service in 1954, Francis returned to Montana and formed a band called The Wandering Cowboys with his brother Bob and lifelong friend Delmer Christianson. Together, they recorded in San Francisco for Hollywood Records. During his music career, he met and married Donna Duvall in March,1958. They traveled around the western United States, playing music in Reno, Sacramento, and Washington state, as well as forming a The His and Hers Band playing regularly throughout Montana. The Quinn family then settled in Dillon, MT, where Francis began working for Vigilante Electric. Soon after, he worked for the Anaconda Copper Smelter in Great Falls. When the Anaconda Copper smelter crew went on strike, Francis and family headed to Sacramento, where he found work as an electrician. Francis returned to Montana for good in 1968, when he was hired by the Montana Power Company. During his 27-year career, Francis worked as a journeyman lineman, and plant operator at Black Eagle, Rainbow, Cochrane, Ryan and Morony Dams. He was promoted to Foreman of Holter Dam in Wolf Creek, Montana where he enjoyed working with Don Mercier, Jerry Peterson, and Mike Taylor. He retired in 1995, and moved to the Helena valley.

Francis was a lifelong, devout Catholic and was a regular attendee at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Helena, MT. Faith, family, and friends were very important to him. Known to his friends as "Brother Frank," he was always known for telling a great story and helping a friend in need. He gave tirelessly to local farmers, businesses, Wolf Creek Elementary School and Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Wolf Creek where he attended with his family. He was a lifelong learner, inventor and builder of many non-traditional items, including a rodent electrocution device, vehicle tow dolly, pumper truck, powered weed sprayer, and his favorite: a hydrogen machine to power his truck with water.

Francis is preceded in death by his parents Daniel and Margaret Quinn, brothers John, Don, and Bob, and sisters Rita, Marguerite (MacMillan), Mary (Lillis), and Dorothy (Newmack). Francis is survived by his sons: Bret Francis Quinn of Los Angeles, CA, and Martin (Lisa) Quinn of Nashville, TN and his daughters Renee (Adam) Beck of Floyds Knobs, Indiana, and Rhonda (Jeff) Fields of Corydon, Indiana. Also surviving are his grandchildren: Tanner Francis Scott Thompson and Jake Daniel Fields, both of Corydon, Indiana; Kade Francis Quinn and Kellen James Quinn, both of Nashville, TN. He is also survived by his longtime companion Leanna Gober and her family.

A visitation will be held Wednesday, July 1st from 2-7 PM at Retz Funeral Home, 315 E 6th Avenue, Helena, MT. A family Funeral Mass will be celebrated Thursday, July 2nd, at 12:10 PM at St. Mary's Catholic Church, 1700 Missoula Ave, Helena, with burial immediately following at Montana State Veteran's Cemetery, Ft. Harrison, MT. Due to Covid-19, reception details will be provided later. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to St. Teresa of Avila Catholic Church, Whitehall, MT 59759. Please visit to offer the family a condolence or share a memory of Francis.


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