Mary Agnes McQuinn


Age 88, of Greenwood, MN, formerly of Edina, MN, passed peacefully March 29, 2023 surrounded by loving family and her husband of 69 years, Alvin E. McQuinn. She was a true Matriarch, in the best sense of the word, and left her family, friends, and community at large, so much the better for her having been with us. Mary Agnes was born September 3, 1934 in Frankfort, Indiana, the oldest child to Mary Agnes and Robert C. Starr. As a Night Editor at the local newspaper, Mary’s father, brought the world of journalism home to his family. There, a young Mary grew up quickly during WWII, taking her loving parents’ advice to heart and living life with a strong sense of responsibility and interest in the world. As an accomplished student, she and her bright and active younger brother, Frank, (who later took the family avocation of journalism to a serious vocation) pursued their interests in a promising new world led by science and mechanization.

At the age of 15, the War years caught up with her father and upon the time of his early death, in 1950, that sense of responsibility became laser focused for Mary. As support to her single working mother and younger brother, Mary mingled household duties with schoolwork, while saving for her future. When the time came, she took her love of education and talented gifts as an artist to Christian College (later Columbia College) in Columbia, MO. Originally planning to complete her education at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, Mary Agnes found herself head over heels in love and destined to become an army wife, swayed, in part, by the extraordinary love and salesmanship of Al McQuinn. (Not to mention their shared love for music and dancing)! They married on October 24, 1954 in Frankfort, IN. While fulfilling an army ROTC scholarship commitment, they were posted around the southern U.S. and eventually were stationed at Gary Air Force Base in San Marcos, Texas near El Paso where they began to grow a family. In 1959, and in search of a career in Agriculture, Mary and Al moved north, to the Great Midwest, landing in Edina, MN where they continued to grow their family and begin what would be “a pioneering career” in Ag Business. Mary Agnes was an incredible homemaker implementing the frugal lessons from her childhood and focusing her love and care on her young family, while at the same time, becoming an important partner to Al extending her literary and language skills to his late-night marketing efforts. Never one to ignore the need to grow and expand, she was an active volunteer supporting her family as a room mother, Girl Scout Leader, Sunday School and Confirmation teacher and the President of the Blake School Parent Association. Food was love in the McQuinn household. It was not uncommon for one to walk in from school and be welcomed by Mary’s glowing smile and outstretched hand offering up something warm and homemade, while the little kitchen radio’s tunes floated across the room playing the musical hits of the day. To say that she was a gracious hostess is not an exaggeration! Mary Agnes loved using her artistic talent to create special moments for friends and family while incorporating her developing culinary knowledge and hosting skills to help Al build the business. As family roots deepened in the community, so did Mary Agnes and Al’s involvement with many of the organizations that they enjoyed together and came to support over the years. Mary Agnes served or volunteered with The Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Minneapolis Institute of Art, and The University of St. Thomas. Perhaps one of the most important endeavors Mary and Al ever undertook was their extensive work with The Mayo Clinic. They shared an open-minded respect and curiosity for all things medically related at The Clinic. Thus, Mary was an active member of The Mayo Clinic Leadership Council as well as being an enthusiastic Philanthropic Partner culminating in their support for research on Multiple Myeloma. Valuing all of this, when asked what work she was most proud of throughout her life - her reply was simple - it was her family. “Love is all!”, she declared. Mary is preceded in death by her son Charles A. McQuinn. She is survived by her husband Alvin E. McQuinn; her brother Frank (Jan Warrington) C. Starr; her daughters, Anne E. McQuinn, Susan (Doug) Arndt, and Mary (Jim) Jetland; her grandchildren, Andrew (Sarah) Arndt, Edward (Katie) Arndt, Katie (Nick) Trevena, Joseph (Lauren) Jetland, Mary Grace Arndt, Brian Arndt, Lillian Schmitz, Silvia Schmitz, and Merriam Schmitz; as well as seven great grandchildren. The family would like to thank Mary Agnes’ amazingly skilled and versatile care team who made her life so comfortable and beautiful these last few years; just the way she liked it! Memorials may be given to The Brainerd Lakes Area Community Foundation’s Charles McQuinn Memorial Fund and The Lakes Area Music Festival. A Memorial Service will be at 11:00 AM, with a luncheon to follow Friday, May 5, at The Chapel at The University of St. Thomas on Cleveland Avenue between Laurel Ave. & Ashland Ave., in St. Paul (map address is 2115 Summit Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105). Parking is available in Frey Parking Ramp located off Cleveland Avenue just south of the Chapel and provides a tunnel directly to the Chapel. Horseshoe drop off is available directly in front of the Chapel. Street parking by city signage only. Please allow time to park.

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