One of a kind
Where do you begin when someone asks you to talk about a man like Robert C. McQuillen?
Bob, Mac, Kwack, Mr. Mac, Mac the Quack. A man known by many names, but equally influential to so many in terms of his attitude and passion for life. He was the “real-deal.” No matter who you were or where you came from, Mac could relate to you or would take you under his wing if he was inclined to. He was like a chameleon that could adapt to any social setting. He could walk into a room of complete strangers and come out an hour later shaking hands, laughing and trading phone numbers. Mac could look right into your eyes and really size you up. He could see you for who you really were. He made you feel so comfortable that you could share your secrets and your dreams with him, without feeling embarrassed or being judged. He was the best friend you could have.
Mac had many loves in his life too, this is true — from his family and music, to his school kids and rare steaks. From firearms and teaching, to his love of knives and working with his hands. And of course, the love of his life, his wife Prissy. Each of these areas different, but amazingly the same in terms of his passion, knack for forging bonds and the impression he would ultimately make. Together, I’d like to think that we were all a part of his family. I know I speak for us all when I say that we are truly honored to be considered part of his life.
Mac could do anything he wanted to. In fact, if you look up the definition of “Renaissance Man” in the dictionary, you might see a picture of him there. From playing the piano or accordion and making electricity flow, to sitting a kid down for some hard lessons on life. He could hit you with a sledgehammer when you were out of line, but he would always circle back later to make sure you understood and that you knew it was from the heart. And man could he tell stories. Probably one of my favorite things about Mac was the collection of stories he had compiled over the years — 90 years. He would tell it all. Sometimes for entertainment, sometimes to teach you a lesson and sometimes if you were lucky, because he felt comfortable enough to bear his soul back to you as a trusted friend.
Mac had such a love for life and I think he lived it to the fullest. The energy he had was literally contagious and if you did not walk away amazed by that man and his spirit, then I say you missed out. He once told me that he looked at himself in the mirror when he was 17 and said that he would try to live with that kind of energy forever – and all be dammed if he didn’t do it. His sense of humor will be unforgettable. The jokes he sprang on unsuspecting waitresses for the hundredth time, that unforgettable cackle after he cracked himself up, that devilish grin and sideways glance with his eyes after he said or did something that was particularly witty.
Anyone that really knew Mac knows that he is a permanent part of us now. Some things he gave us are so clear and other things, you just can’t quite put your finger on. But you know it’s him rubbing off on you. I know you have all heard this expression before, but God truly broke the mold after he made Bob McQuillen. All the things he was to us and all the times we shared will never be forgotten. Mac burned so bright and so strong for so many years. The world will be just a little bit dimmer now that he is gone. No farewell can be more fitting that for me to yell one last time at the top of my lungs, Heee-Yaaahhh! We will never forget you.
James Noonan lives in Goffstown.