MINT HILL, NC – Corporal Bill Quinn in the United States Army was attached to the 81st Chemical Mortar Battalion in General George Patton’s Third Army during World War II.
He was an honored and proud recipient of the Purple Heart. On his 85th birthday, he received the Purple Heart flag presented to him by the R. E. Lee Confederate Heritage Association of which he was a member of the organization. He was awarded the Purple Heart when he was wounded by a German sniper in Austria with a gunshot leg wound the day before the surrender of the German Wehrmacht. He spent 18 months in hospitals due to his injury. The shrapnel from the jeep he was riding in, plus the shrapnel from the bullet itself plagued him throughout his life.
Quinn recently passed away at the age of 98.5 years, he lived in the Charlotte area for many decades. He was a pioneer in the early days of television with WBTV in Charlotte. He was also a student of history and enjoyed military, civil war, and American history. He studied, wrote, and conversed at length upon his Irish roots and heritage. He was a major participant and promoter in the Charlotte Civil War Round Table.
A native of Massachusetts, he served in the U.S. Army from Normandy until the end of the war in Austria. His Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) was a mortarman, he was trained on the 4.2 inch mortars to deliver fire support for Army infantry soldiers and ground troops involved in the fight. He was initially assigned to the First U.S. Army, and by September 1944 to the Third U.S. Army. He fought with the battalion from Normandy through the campaign in France, battles along the German-held Siegfried Line, and across the borders into Austria. For service to his country, Quinn earned the World War II Victory Medal, European-African Middle Eastern service medal with Bronze Arrowhead, the Good Conduct Medal, and the Purple Heart.
A graduate of Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, he moved to North Carolina in 1947, attended North Carolina State, and moved to Rock Hill to begin work on radio. In 1949 he started with WBTV in Charlotte which had just begun television broadcasts, he was one of the pioneers who largely worked behind the scenes to produce the programs. He became the station’s first Program Director and established policies that remain in place today. He met his wife Emma at WBTV, and they married in 1950. They raised four children, who produced ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. The couple remained married for 70 years, and his beloved Emma passed away this past December.
Bill Quinn and his wife were members of Saint Gabriel Catholic Church. When Bill was under hospice care several local veterans from the Veterans Heart Group visited with him to pay honor to his service during World War II. On April 22, 2020, he passed away. On Friday, April 24th, these same men in the Veterans Heart Group had the privilege to serve as a uniformed Honor Guard at his graveside.
Bill Quinn was a combat-wounded veteran, an American hero from the greatest generation, a humble man, who did his duty for God, country, family and for the soldier next to him. He will be remembered and honored by those who knew him well.
On Memorial Day, we recognize, honor, and mourn all our military members who died while serving our country. The holiday is now observed on the last Monday in the month of May.