In Memoriam: John Quinn
Friday, February 16, 2018
by: Linda Howell

Section: Practitioner Spotlight

John Francis Quinn died on Thursday, January 12th, 2018. He was 87. John was a Korean War veteran, and he was given a military funeral with honors on January 26th, 2018 at Calverton National Cemetery.


I first met John through my Feldenkrais training program in 1996 in Montclair, New Jersey.  We had both heard of Feldenkrais in the 1980’s, and he had attended some of Moshe’s lectures then. He was from Brooklyn. I was from Brooklyn. I had a car. He had one eye. So we became commuting buddies. We studied videos, gave each other FIs, and talked about the method. But first, we had a large cup of tea, with milk. John was quintessentially an Irishman.


John’s work had many facets. He was a social worker, a pro bono advisor on immigration problems, and, as John Copley-Quinn, an actor, sometimes with his dog, Daisy.


At heart, John needed to learn. He repeated that Montclair training. He traveled across the country for many advanced trainings and attended numerous Feldenkrais Method Annual Conferences. We attended some advanced trainings together. We also both took many courses with Ruthy Alon. He was a Pioneer Trainer in Bones for Life.


His focus was on the Feldenkrais Method. He taught himself anatomy and built up a small practice. It was after 9/11 that his compassion and skills came to the fore. He was down at Ground Zero as soon as it was possible. He worked with firefighters, police officers, Port Authority officers, anyone who needed him. As one fireman stated, “We soon became a healing team…..The fire and police departments of the City of New York owe a great debt of gratitude to this individual, caring citizen." When the downtown spot closed, he relocated to September Space in midtown. He volunteered at several Brooklyn sites set up to attend to the physical stresses the first responders endured. His attention to detail and his ability to listen, with his ears, eyes, and hands, were appreciated enormously.


John never wavered in his faith in the Method. Even in the assisted living facility where he lived during his last three years, he continued his studies. When I visited, he was many times rereading Moshe’s biography. It was a disappointment to me that I could not get him online so he could continue to contribute to the Feldy Forum as he did so many times.


John was a curmudgeon, a cranky old man at times, a sad man, a hoarder. But he was also the old guy who could give you that sly look that told you he was in on the joke, the guy who continued to care, continued to be informed, continued to grow.


We will miss him.

Photos by Celeste River.
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Comments (3)
1/13/2019 6:30:40 PM
Oh, that's so sad. I never met John in person, but we stumbled upon our words online, found each other online, and started to exchanged quite a few emails. I guess that started back in 2009. My Inbox shows almost 80 empathic emails I did receive from him. What a precious collection.

I loved his way of connecting with me, his intellect, his way of setting his feelings into type, his insights into life and his remarks on teaching the Feldenkrais Method, and his humour. I especially loved his humour, his way of unvoreingenommenes precise wording. His appreciation for life and people. And his way of dealing with difficulties, tragic events. I'm grateful that he helped me overcome, and outgrow, my own personal issues and insecurities with the community.

"We shitbirds are
nothing.. Or maybe our crazy prose is just too much for them..
Was born alone and I can die alone.
Why don't you send your letter.. They can only hang you."

Still helps me today. He was a great poet, real as it gets. His type sits on the same shelves as Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller in my library. He always managed to inspire me and cheer me up, and helped me go on, continue, grow, develop. He could righten up my badly influenced, spiked with feelings of inferiority ponderings about how to teach the Feldenkrais Method with a simple, short remark, such as:

"We don’t got to have no stinken reference point”

thus propel me to new levels quickly, which did save me months or even years of attending so called advanced Feldenkrais trainings. Thank you John! I dearly miss you.

I read about his parting just now (13th of January 2019, almost exactly a year later). I was just thinking "Hm, haven't heard of John in quite a while now, I really wonder what he is up to these days, should drop him a line", and that's how I found this Memoriam – so sad. Thank you for putting it up online. I will always carry John in my heart, and part of him in my way of teaching the Feldenkrais Method, for he has influenced and informed me.

Mach's gut, mein Freund.
Alfons, from Austria.

Heidi McGovern
2/18/2018 10:30:03 AM
Thank you Linda for the beautiful post on your times with John. I was drawn into the piece word by word, phrase by phrase to enjoy my own memory of John, especially of his kindness. Thanks.

Peggi Honig
2/17/2018 9:05:52 PM
Beautifully stated. John is missed and will continue to be remembered as the endearing learner and giver her was.

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