Liz was born in Kansas City on March 14, 1954 to John David Quinly and Joan Hogan Quinly. The second of seven children and eldest daughter, Liz was a warm caregiver from an early age, helping her parents to tend to her youngest siblings. Her brothers and sisters, and decades later, her children’s friends, often thought of Liz as a second mother. The most patient person any of us have ever met, she had a special gift with children. She could easily calm colicky babies, translate for toddlers, and accept people just as they were. Countless people would say that Liz was their favorite person in the world. She always made everyone around her feel safe and loved, and she was a great listener and problem-solver. If you were frustrated, your best bet was to talk to Liz, and she could calm you down and help you see things in a new light.
Liz attended St Elizabeth’s, Southwest High School, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City. She was a social butterfly who loved to be around people, which led her to her first retail work at Halls on the Plaza. She was the first Quinly to work at the Peanut on Main. And she spent two decades at Pottery Barn, enjoying coffee breaks with coworkers and giving clients much-appreciated guidance on interior design through home visits.
Liz met Dave in 1969, while they were still in high school. Dave was often at the Quinly family table for dinner, or he and Liz would take her young siblings out for ice cream. Dave says he first knew that Liz was the one when they were sitting on the Quinly kitchen floor playing with matchbox cars—they had so much fun just doing nothing together. The two were best friends and partners for more than 50 years. They married on November 29, 1975 and lovingly raised three children together. Liz was the North Star of her family, the source of love and light that others followed. She taught all of us the true meaning of unconditional love.
Liz’s joy was infectious, and she could be a goofball. She would often break into song, answering “I’m cold” with the heat is on, or “it’s not fair” with you can’t always get what you want. She would make you laugh with just a wiggle of her eyebrows. She loved to sing and dance, and she made everything more fun. At weddings and special occasions, she was the toastmaster, setting off round after round of clinking glasses calling for more toasts, more stories, more communion and joy. Liz’s late father used to joke that she was “lunch meat”—always ready to go anywhere. She was a game companion and always had time for a good time with family or friends.
Liz could figure out anything. She used to warn her children that they couldn’t keep a secret from her because she was a detective. She could fix things that broke around the house and help you solve any puzzle. If you were looking for something in another room of the house, she might call out to you, “I can see it from here!” She made beautiful pottery, could sew and embroider, and anyone lucky enough to eat something she made would tell you she was an incredible cook. You could use the same exact recipe as Liz and hers would still come out better.
She was incredibly strong, and not only in spirit. She loved to run and walk, and she could outpace someone twenty years younger hiking Vail Mountain. She practiced yoga for many years. Exercise was something she could do alone or with her husband, sisters, children, or dear friend Patty.
Liz was first diagnosed with cancer in 1993 when she was 38 years old. She was both determined and fortunate to successfully complete treatment and enjoy a decades-long remission. She wanted to be here to raise her children and eventually meet and get to know her grandchildren, and her family is so grateful that she could. She was also able to travel, hike mountains, sail, learn new things, tell funny stories, and offer wise advice to her beloved family and friends.
Liz received a new cancer diagnosis in 2017, and the family would like to thank the medical team at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in particular Christina Roland and Maria Zarzour, for their kind and attentive care. Regardless of Liz’s struggles, she almost never complained, and her buoyant spirit lifted everyone up.
She is survived by her husband Dave, children Erin (Matt), Jim (Courtney), and Cate, and grandchildren Logan, Seamus, Declan, and Ronan. She is preceded in death by her father John, brother Joe, and her hero and grandmother Elizabeth Hogan. She is survived by her mother Joan and siblings David, Jim (Rie), Anne (Mark), Ellen (Tom), and Peg (Grant). She will be missed by many family members and dear friends near and far.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church, 2 E. 75th St., KC, MO 64114, Friday 12/3 at noon.