Margaret Quinn Orloske

Margaret Quinn Orloske

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  • Occupation:
    Marsh & McLennan | Vice President - Knowledge Management
    Reflections:
    The New York Times Portraits of Grief
    Eulogy
    Obituary
    Margaret Orloske/Maureen Olson Memorial Scholarship
    Biography:

    Margaret Edith Quinn was born at 6:29 p.m. on Thursday, August 16, 1951 at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Bridgeport, Connecticut. She became the second child of Sylvia and Edward Quinn who lived in Trumbull, Connecticut, with their first child Edward “Ward” and Sylvia’s mother Selma Nillson Stohl. She returned to the Quinn’s home at 21 Wordins Lane in Trumbull, Connecticut, to begin a generally happy childhood in the then rural community. Mrs. Quinn said “Margaret was always an independent person, even in her childhood.” Though never throwing a tantrum, Margaret could be very persistent in getting her way on things that were important to her. This combination of independence and persistence would be traits that would contribute to her matured sense of purpose for others, later in her life, and help make her the strong women she would become. Though her mother was Episcopalian, Margaret was raised a Catholic and attended Mass each Sunday with her father. Mrs. Quinn said they attended one of the first masses of the day, before they engaged in any other plans they may have had and never missed a Sunday. Margaret loved her big brother Ward but she sadly lost him very early in her childhood when he succumbed to a birth defect that look his life. So for most of her life Margaret was an only child. Margaret started her school years at St. Theresa’s Elementary School on Main Street in Trumbull were she began to demonstrate her intellectual abilities achieving an “A” average throughout her school years. At home she learned much as well. From her mother she learned about gardening and grew to love it and was good at it. From her grandmother she learned to cook and most of all how to bake, a skill she came to be known for. Her Mother said that the ability to cook and bake appeared to skip generations in the Stohl family and Margaret was just the next example of that. Margaret attended Trumbull High where she excelled as well. History, English and Geography were her main interests and she graduated with honors as well as with six college credits from AP courses she qualified for in her senior year. Her extracurricular activities included many clubs but her passion was the Theater Club where she worked behind the scenes on productions and stage management. It was through her theatrical interests that she met her future husband Duane who was also interested in stage from a technical standpoint. They started dating in their junior year and continued their courtship throughout their college years. Margaret started her college career in the fall of 1969 at the University of Connecticut where she majored in History with a concentration in American History. Four years later she graduated with honors on the thirteenth day of May 1973, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in History. As she had in high school Margaret made many new friends in college; friends she would keep for the rest of her life. After graduation from the University of Connecticut, Margaret immediately attended the University of Pittsburgh were she pursued her graduate studies in library and information sciences. During this time she got to know Duane’s mother’s family who lived in Pittsburgh and visited Aunt Ruth and other family members regularly at their home in Fox Chapel. She got to know them well and became close. It was during her time in Pittsburgh when Duane proposed marriage to her. She accepted on St. Valentine’s Day in 1974. She graduated on August 9, 1974 with a Master’s Degree in Library & Informational Science and soon after returned to Connecticut. Always one to keep moving forward, Margaret began her working career that year at the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) in Norwalk, Connecticut, where she led their Research Library and did so until 1976. Her years there gave her an opportunity to be exposed to the corporate world through her regular contacts with corporate librarians across the country. On March 22, 1975, Margaret Quinn married Duane Orloske in Trumbull, Connecticut, and began a marriage that would last over 26 years. They honeymooned in Colonial Williamsburg where Margaret formally introduced Duane to her love for early American colonial architecture and furniture. This interest would grow in both of them and would become an important part of their lives outside of their work. Upon their return from Williamsburg they settled in their first apartment in North Haven, Connecticut, which was about halfway between their places of employment; Margaret in Norwalk and Duane in New Britain where he had started his 34-year career at Central Connecticut State University. Wanting to explore the public sector in her career, Margaret took the position of Coordinator of the Service Center for the Eastern Connecticut Library Cooperative, based in Willimantic, Connecticut. Though she again made many connections and developed many new friendships, she discovered she really loved working in the corporate environment and began to search for a new position. Her work in Willimantic caused the Orloske’s to move to East Hampton, Connecticut, so they could once again be between their job locations. Their moved to their second apartment located on Lake Pocotopaug. They soon fell in love with the rural setting of the town and decided to purchase their first home there in 1977. They stayed there for the next 13 years. In 1979 Margaret began to work for Timex Corporation, in Watertown, Connecticut, where she headed their Corporate Library. During this time her leadership abilities in her field started to be recognized when she was elected to the position of President of the Connecticut Valley Chapter of the Special Library Association and became more active in the national organization as well. It was soon after moving to their first home that Margaret and Duane decided it was time to take on their next phase of their marriage and start a family. On April 12, 1982 Margaret became a mother when she gave birth to their son Stephen. The addition of Stephen to their lives brought new challenges for both of them. It also make it clear the long commute to Watertown each day would not be in Stephen’s best interest so Margaret once again looked to see where she could continue her career closer to home. Her tenure at Timex ended in 1983, soon after the birth of her son Stephen, when she accepted the position of Corporate Librarian for Traveler’s Insurance Corporation in Hartford, Connecticut. Her role at Travelers spanned nearly 10 years and ended in 1992 at which time she had been promoted to Director of Corporate Services and managed not only the Corporate Library but also, Travel, Relocation, Communications and other services, as well as their Management Training Program; which she loved to do most. When the company experienced financial problems in 1992, she accepted the buy-out offer and decided to take a rest. In 1990, Margaret and Duane had one of their dreams come true when they found a house and community where their love of American history and architecture could be fully expressed. That year they moved from East Hampton to Windsor, Connecticut, into an authentic reproduction of an 18th Century center-chimney saltbox house in a community of other reproductions and reconstructed homes from the same period. It was like walking back in time. Margaret loved it so much that she enrolled Duane in a month long marathon that included buying the new house, selling their East Hampton house and painting most of the interior of the new house so they could move in. They did it in just under 4 weeks and then hosted Thanksgiving Dinner for the entire Orloske Family cooked on their new open hearth fireplace complete with a brick oven. She was in heaven. For the year of 1993 she enjoyed doing consulting and training work for the Donohue Group in Glastonbury, CT, where again her ability to connect with people led her to her next and last position. In 1994 she accepted the position of Director of Corporate Library Services for Marsh & McLennan Companies in New York City. Her office was in mid-town at 1166 Avenue of the Americas, on the second floor. It was not long before she again grew her operation and her responsibilities as the role of information technology began to transform what her department provided the company. In 1997, Marsh decided to expand her Department and move it to the World Trade Center where they had rented space on the upper floor of Tower 1 and moved a number of their information and technology operations there. Her two-and-a-half hour, one-way commute, immediately increased by 30 minutes as she now needed to take the subway from mid-town, where she got off of MetroNorth, downtown to the World Trade Center. She now was spending about six hours a day commuting, but she loved her job and the people she was working with. At the time of the attacks on September 11th, she ironically was in the process of planning to move her offices back to mid-town as the services she was now providing executives was becoming increasingly important and they wanted her operation closer to those she was serving. At her death Margaret had become a Vice President for Knowledge Management at Marsh. September 11, 2001, started unlike most with the alarm that got her and Duane up in the morning at 4:00 a.m. failed to work. Duane got up at 4:35 a.m. and Margaret bounded out of bed. Duane got her coffee to wake up, and filled one for the trip to the MetroNorth Station in Stratford, Connecticut. It appeared she might miss her 5:48 a.m. train at one point and Duane suggested it might be a good day to work from home, which she had been doing one day a week for the past few months. She had a project meeting that day which she said she did not want to miss, so off she went. On the way out the door Duane gave her a kiss goodbye and told her, as he often did, to stay away from the crazy people and be safe. She said her normal “Love you!” got in her car and left shortly before 5:00 a.m. Duane never heard from Margaret again, though he did have a missed call message on his cell phone that morning. As it would be said in many speeches and articles that followed in the months and years that followed, Margaret was a remarkable person. Her life was filled with many accomplishments, not the least of which was her ability to make connections with people and find ways to assist them to connect with each other and grow. She was dedicated to her work but her family always came first. She loved her husband and her son Stephen, of whom she was very proud. She was a dedicated friend. Her integrity, commitment and love of life infected everyone she met. It is what she gave to and brought out in others and it is her living legacy. She is missed.



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