Danny “D.J”. Quinn was born in Vallejo, Ca. on September 27,
1946. Danny is not his nickname, but his birth name. He shared
that he was named Danny, after the song “Danny Boy”. The “J”
in “D.J.” stands for “Joseph”. His grandfather on his Dad’s side
was named Joseph, and his grandmother on his Mom’s side
was named Josephine. To appease both sides, his Mom said
that Danny Joseph (D.J) was named after both sides, and both
sides of the family were happy.
D.J. led an active childhood, participating in Little League, and
Babe Ruth baseball. The Cub Scouts taught him “To be his
Best”. D.J. always had an interest in cars, and he loved to drive
fast. He remembers at 12 years old that he got to drive the
fisherman to the boat ramp at Dillon Beach via the beach front,
in a 1946 Power wagon, because there was no other access.
driving home, he got a ticket for speeding just two blocks from the DMV. He thought ‘oh no’, what am I going to tell
Mom? He decided not to tell her ‘just yet’. That night he got to drive to the basketball game, and promptly got his 2nd
speeding ticket coming home on “K” Street, in Sacramento. Now he had to tell his Mom about TWO traffic tickets, but
still waited for the right moment. At breakfast the next morning, she needed something from the store, and asked D.J. to
go for her, since he now had his driver’s license. No sooner had he taken off, he was again stopped for speeding again.
The third time was NOT the charm; it was better described as TROUBLE. His brother spilled the beans about his
tickets and D.J.’s recalls that it was only the second time in his life that he saw his Mom SO upset. She immediately
took his temporary license away, and took his speeding tickets which he had to pay from his part time job. She also
grounded him for LIFE from using the car. Fortunately for D.J., LIFE without a car turned out to be about a month, but it
sounded like torture anyway because he couldn’t drive, except to school and back. He remembers that even when his
permanent license showed up, his Mom took that away for a while, too. He has since learned to control his "lead" foot,
due to the rising cost of insurance he had to pay.
D.J. graduated from high school. He did well in school, and he took the entrance exams for Sacramento City College,
and Sacramento State College. However, in his words, he did what was expected of him. He applied for a Student
Deferent to avoid being drafted. However, in October 1965, he decided to join the Navy. His cousin had served in the
Navy, and sparked his interest in learning electronics. He didn’t want to join the Army, because as a young man, he felt
his chances for having to go to Vietnam would be increased. He took the Navy’s aptitude test, and scored high enough
to choose any field he wanted to study. Interestingly, while in Boot Camp, he received his Student Deferment papers,
and took it to his Company Commander whose exact words were “In your dreams, Quinn”.
He settled into Navy life, and attended “A” School, located at Treasure Island just outside of San Francisco, to become
an Electronics Technician. After about ten months of training, he graduated with a high enough GPA that he was
automatically promoted to E4- Petty Officer – 3rd Class.
What he found out about his chosen field of study was that it was
boring to him. By that time, it was too late to choose another field.
He was committed. While attending “B” School at the Nuclear
Power Facility at Mare Island, an incident involving his moral
ethics changed the course of his Navy life. Being curious , I asked
him to share what happened. He recalled that he and a lady
friend were enjoying some free time at a Social Club in the
Presidio. An ex-boyfriend of his lady friend had a few too much to
drink and came over to taunt her. It didn’t help that D.J. was also
a Navy man, as the ex-boyfriend was Army. The next thing he
knew, the ex-boyfriend slapped D.J.’s Date, and without thinking,
D.J. ‘decked’ him, (a good Navy term). D.J. shared that his Mom
taught him to ALWAYS have respect for women, and especially
NEVER to hit a woman. Needless to say, his reaction was swift
and automatic to the kind of treatment he just witnessed.
The ex-boyfriend just happened to be a non-commissioned Army
Sergeant, a higher rank than D.J. The Military Police stepped in
to alleviate the situation, and, soon after, D.J. found himself at a
“Captain Mast” or non-judicial disciplinary hearing which a
commanding officer would study and dispose of cases involving
those in his/her command. Although his commanding officer
Later in his Navy stint, when he was serving on an Oiler ship, the U.S.S. Mattoponi, A051 in the Gulf of Tonkin, he
remembers receiving two pieces of mail. One was his promotion to E5, and the other was for a 30 day leave. After his
leave he had orders to report to Long Beach to be shipped to Vietnam. He spent 14 months in-country, and thankfully,
returned safely. D.J. spent a total of six years in the Navy. He was honorably discharged in 1971 as an E6 Petty Officer
– 1st Class.
An interesting story that D.J. shared during a week-end pass to go home to Sacramento. He was stationed at Small
Boat Handling School, in Long Beach. He owned a 1963 Pontiac Catalina Sport Coupe. It had a 421 motor with triple
deuces. He was traveling on I-5 just over the Grapevine Pass about 2am in the morning, cruising at 85 mph in a 70 mph
zone. No one was on the freeway but him. Then he saw headlights, but decided to keep cruising at 85 mph. He figured
that if it was the California Highway Patrol (CHP), he would get stopped any minute. No such thing happened. The
vehicle stayed with him for several miles, then D.J. decided to pick up the pace, feeling a bit more comfortable that it
was not the CHP. However, the vehicle that was following him also picked up his pace and stayed with DJ. In that
moment, DJ decided to “punch it” to the floor, burying the speedometer to120 mph. He was finally pulling away from the
vehicle following him, and THEN the RED LIGHTS started flashing. D.J. remembered thinking “Ohhh, Crap, I’m dead.”
He slowed down, and pulled over since he knew he could not out run a radio. The CHP caught up, got out of his vehicle,
and walked along the side of D.J.’s car. D.J. was preparing to show his license and registration, when the CHP
knocked on his car door asking him to pop the hood. D.J. did so, and got out of the car and walked to the front of the
car to open the hood. The CHP took his flashlight to survey the engine, and then said “I knew you had something in
there. You were doing 85 mph when I got on the Freeway. I wanted to see what you could do, so I pushed you” D.J. said
that the CHP clocked him at 136 mph. but, fortunately for D.J. the CHP only wrote him a speeding ticket for 80 mph in a
70 mph zone. DJ was only to too happy to pay it, rather than getting a ticket for 136 mph in 70 mph zone. Unfortunately,
on his way back to Base in Long Beach, on Sunday of the same week-end, he stopped at a Stoplight in town. He
remembers it was about 3:30am, and the tail of his car was hit by a drunk driver going about 50 or 60 miles an hour,
totaling the whole car. If it wasn’t for the sheer size of his car, in D.J.’s words, he would have been ‘creamed’. He was
UPSET, but, in retrospect very grateful to be alive
Just out of the Navy, he lived with his brother Marty and his wife Charlene Quinn for a short time. Yes, our very own
beloved Charlene. One day, Bernice and her husband Cam, came to visit her daughter Charlene, grand daughter
Janet, husband Marty, and of course D.J.
They drove their four year old 1967 Crown
Imperial and took the family to dinner. D.J. fell
totally in love with their Imperial. It was even Blue,
D.J.’s favorite color. He remembers talking with
Cam, Bernice’s husband, and telling him that if he
ever wanted to sell the ’67 Imperial, D.J. wanted
to know. Of course, still a young man, he didn’t
know how he would afford it, but, he wanted the
After Bernice’s husband passed away, she
became very active in the newly formed IOASV
(Imperial Owners Association of Sacramento
Valley). She partnered in helping Charlene
purchase her ’65 Crown Imperial Convertible, and
her son Ted’s ’68 Imperial Convertible that now
belongs to Mike Hackney.
Both Bernice and Charlene appeared with their Imperials at almost every event. As time passed, Bernice could not
care for her ’67 as she wanted. D.J. stepped in to help, driving it to many events for Bernice in later years.
During 2006 or 2007 when D.J. was preparing Bernice’s ’67 Imperial for Mopars in the Park or the State Meet in
Monterey, (one of the two); he went to her home to pick up the keys. On the coffee table addressed to him was an
envelope. Inside he found the pink slip and a note to the DMV that she was giving her ’67 to D.J. as a gift. He was very
overwhelmed. He always thought that he should be the last person to receive her car as a gift, since Bernice had two
children that she could leave her car. He shared that Bernice wanted to transfer the car to D.J. so there was no
question of her gift to him. She did have two stipulations that D.J. has honored. The first was to keep the car “as is”,
and the license plate the same, until one year after she was gone. The second was to stay connected with IOANC. She
also bought D.J. and Rosie their first year membership. After one year, D.J. wanted to get some work done on the ’67
Imperial. He had dual exhausts put on the car. He had the paint color sanded and buffed. and had the transmission
re-done. He replaced the valve covers and gaskets, He replaced the bias ply tires with radial tires which makes the car
run like a champ now.
D.J. met Rosie, his beloved wife in 1972, a year
after he got out of the Navy. His childhood friend,
Russ Lawson, from Dillon’s beach introduced them.
In 1973, they were married and spent 35 blissful
years together. Sadly, Rosie’s life was cut short
August 10, 2008. She died peacefully in her sleep,
and, with no warning. D.J. shares that Rosie
changed his life definitely for the better. They have
two beautiful daughters, Nickol Danette, born
February 1977, and Natalie Diann who was born in
July 1982. Nickol and her husband Bill Catterlin have
given him two beautiful grandchildren, Brady who is
5, and Sarah who is 4. Natalie is not married yet, but
is in a very happy relationship, and D.J. approves of
her boyfriend, Matthew.
He says with sincerity of IOANC “It is a good
group of people”.
Thank you, D.J., for your wonderful life story. I
know we all experienced humor, righteousness,
and the poignant passing of Rosie, too soon.
You are a WONDERFUL addition to IOANC,
and we are glad that you also enjoy being a
member, as well. I want to acknowledge, Linda
Meyer-Ehly, the special lady in your life now. She
is a gentle soul, and great to be around at our
events. You are very fortunate for a second time.
You both certainly deserve the happiness you
have found together.
When D.J. was a sophomore in high school, his Mom got a
job at the Department of Motor Vehicles in Sacramento and
the family relocated. At 16, he got his driver’s license. He
remembers his Mom lending him the car to take his driving
test, and after getting his license, he was so excited that
agreed with D.J. about how he handled the incident, he had no choice under military justice to discipline him, because
the Army guy pressed charges. Hmmm…
D.J. was reduced to an E-3, and now instead of finishing “B” School in the prestigious Nuclear Power training
program, he received orders to dispatch to a Seaman’s Striker Fleet, the U.S.S. Bellatrix AF62, a Cargo Reefer which
transported frozen foods, and food storage to other ships. There he reported to the electronics technician shop on
board. His duties included the maintenance and repair of surface search radar. The new orders were okay with him,
as he said he was getting tired of school.
D.J. retired from the State of California in 2004. He went back to work for them as a retired annuitant (RA) and worked
there three days a week until 2008 when he lost Rosie. She had been babysitting their grandchildren daily and he took
over until the kids could find daycare for grandkids, in Feb. of 2009. He went back to work as a RA for the State, but just
didn't want to do that anymore so he fully quit in March of 2009. Since then he joined the Citrus Heights Police force as a
Volunteer. He works there for a total of about 18 - 24 hours a week. He enjoys it, and feels it gives him something to do,
and he can give back to the community.
His collection of die cast cars started 10 years ago. He says “I get most of them from auctions on ebay and some from
die cast manufactures. I stopped counting quite awhile ago, but I think I have somewhere between 250 and 300 cars. I
collect mostly cars from the and 60's (my era) although I do have some older and newer than those eras.”
DJ got the idea for the design of his beautiful new
upholstery from the pillow that Bernice had
embroidered. The emblem was exactly what he
wanted to portray on the headrests for the front and
back seats. He got a perfect sample which was sent
to Highlands Upholstery and they were able to
re-create to perfection the eagle that was Bernice’s
design. When he received ‘Most Improved’ award at
the 2010 State Meet in Palm Springs, he was
surprised and much honored. What tribute to Bernice
Hackney, and what a dream come true to be gifted
this beautiful Imperial that he asked to buy back in
1971, if Bernice and Cam ever wanted to sell it.
Perfect replica of Bernice's eagle