Walter Pat Death, Obituary – Walter “Pat” Quinn passed away on December 4, 2022, and the ZAA wishes to express its deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time. Quinn, a naturalist by birth, developed his lifetime love for animals during an exciting youth in east Tennessee, when he immersed himself in the pursuit of catching and watching native species. This was the beginning of his lifelong love for animals. What started off as an innocent pastime when they were young has developed into a lifelong passion that has led to extensive travel, the acquisition of zoological knowledge, and the launch of important conservation efforts.
Quinn has spent his life to protecting wildlife in Africa, working for organizations such as Rhino Ark, the World Wildlife Fund, and a variety of anti-poaching operations. As Quinn and his wife Donna led over 70 safaris to 17 different countries, they were able to make a positive impact on the lives of many people. Quinn used each journey as an opportunity to educate others and share his passion for the outdoors. Pat was a founder of the Zoological Association of America, the Florida Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and a Paul Harris Fellow of Rotary International.
He had a strong sense of dedication to the zoological community as well as to public service. Throughout the course of his career, Quinn has held a variety of jobs, including those of Director at Lion Country Safari in Irvine, California, Director of the San Francisco Zoo Children’s Zoo, and Vice President at Benson’s Animal Park in New Hampshire. Quinn was a man who was constantly on the cutting edge of innovation. He exuded an alluring aura and never wavered in his commitment to realizing his dream of opening a zoo in Pensacola, Florida.
In 1983, he was successful in securing funds and purchasing land in order to make his idea a reality. In the spring of 1984, what is today known as the Gulf Breeze Zoo opened its doors as the Northwest Florida Zoo. After retiring in 2004, Quinn continued to serve as the Director Emeritus of the Gulf Breeze Zoo for a period of more than 18 years. Pat combined his passion for animals, protecting the environment, and educating people about wildlife into a legacy that can be enjoyed by everyone. He did this via a career of accomplishments, culminating in the development of the Gulf Breeze Zoo.
The Gulf Breeze Zoo continues to expand in accordance with his vision, and it is still committed to honoring the legacy he left behind.