Rest in Power, Garrett Quinlivan

by Marilyn Eisenberg

Garrett Quinlivan left for Germany in the early ’70s and returned to the United States in 2011. He could not believe how much the country had changed in his absence (for the worse) and joined many activist groups here in Gainesville to find out why and what he could do.

Garrett originally went to Germany just on a tour, but fell in love with a woman on the tour, married her, and raised three children in Hamburg. He was trained as a librarian, but joined the staff at the university in Bremen, Germany, as a tutor and teacher of English for German engineering students. There he wrote a German/English dictionary geared especially for engineering students. 

Several years after his wife died and at the end of his career there, he returned to the States. In our locale, Garrett was an active member of Move to Amend, Yes to Second Choices, Just Health Care Committee of the Alachua County Labor Coalition, and the Green Party, for the latter of which he was treasurer. He attended countless meetings of both the City and County Commission. Garrett was also very active in the Bernie Sanders campaign. He attended all these groups on his beloved bicycle.

While attending demonstrations and such with all these organizations, his great passion was building a passive house, following strict German environmental standards. He had it designed by a University of Florida architect, and it was completed in 2016.

Garrett loved attending biweekly luncheon meetings of a men’s group of retired professors and scientists, called The Martians.

In the summer of 2014, he attended a Single Payer Conference in Oakland, California, with Labor Coalition comrade, Marilyn Eisenberg. He came back with brochures and a romance on his hands. The couple held a Commitment Ceremony late in 2015, and thereafter attended events of progressive organizations together till his sudden death of a stroke on Oct. 4. As per his desire, Garrett was buried in the beautiful woods of Prairie Creek Conservation Cemetery, surrounded by his children and his many good Gainesville friends.

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