Oh this Corona virus thing…with so much about it in the news, on TV, online, on the radio, in conversations, signs at stores, everywhere one looks corona has taken over our lives. At moments it feels surreal – like it’s all happening in an alternate universe; the deaths and severe illnesses seem to be happening to so many people but in an alternate reality, which makes it hard sometimes to understand the attention given to the virus. Until of course, it touches our own lives. When someone we know, a person dear to us passes away, and that too from the virus – that’s when it seems all too real, too real to comprehend, too real to understand, too real to take it all in. How can someone we’ve known for so long, a dear friend, who is our age, a wonderful person, pass away from the virus? That’s what happened to our good friend Carl Quinn last week.
An unexpected death from the COVID-19 infection, but not just another statistic; for Carl will forever be remembered for the loving husband, doting father, good friend, and amazing human that he was. Carl Quinn you will always remain in our hearts 💙💕.
Neighbors you wish for and actually get.
Carl and Tracy are the type of neighbors that we all wish for, and in our case our wish actually came true. We met Carl and Tracy as neighbors 20 years ago ever since both our families moved into a new housing development in South San Jose. We were next-door neighbors and we hit it off instantly, both our families had young children and we were all excited to raise them in our new neighborhood. We saw our kids grow up and go to Middle School, then to High School and then off to college. Over the years we became more like family, always there for each other and ready to lend a hand.
Then the time came a few years back when we moved to the town of Los Gatos and Carl and Tracy purchased a 2nd home in Venice Beach to stay at when Carl started his new job. Through all our moves though we kept in touch. They came back to the Bay Area often as their families live here and we got together with them on as many occasions as we could. When I turned the big 50 Carl and Tracy came over to celebrate it with us. When I hosted a brunch for Father’s Day they were visiting town and joined in the celebration. When Tracy turned 50 we were invited to her party. And so on, you get the picture – we always stayed in touch and met up whenever we could.
Carl the cool cat.
I always thought of Carl as a cool Silicon Valley engineer. He seemed to work at the coolest companies even before they became cool. He worked at Netflix when they were just a mail order CD company. He was with them all the way until they focussed on online and streaming services. Then he went on to work at what we call in Silicon Valley a “Big tech company” but he didn’t enjoy that stint and went on to work at Riot Games in Venice Beach. A video gaming company. How cool is that! He was there for a few years before he moved back to the Bay Area and joined a company that is working on technology for driverless trucks. On the evening that we saw him last he was excitedly talking about the future of driverless vehicles and shared demos and stories of where he thought the future would be. It was all so fascinating, and I recall telling him “Carl, you always pick the coolest companies to work for!”
Carl’s cool gadgets
One of my many memories of Carl is as a guy always eager to try out a new gadget be it an electric car, the newest wine opener, a telescope or fancy coffee machine. Boy did Carl love his coffee! He even invested in a coffee roaster, which he showed off when we saw him last. He talked about purchasing raw beans from various sources and creating his own coffee blend, which he then roasted in-house. Carl loved his coffee!
I also recall a time when Carl got a brand new telescope. It was when we were neighbors and I was working outside in my front yard when Carl mentioned he had just purchased a large telescope. He excitedly explained how he wanted to see the planets and stars and was setting up the telescope that evening. We asked if we could take a look and he asked us to stop by that same evening. We literally walked a few steps to get to his place and saw the planets, the Milky Way and the stars. Now he is one of them ⭐️🌟✨. As it turns out Carl still has that telescope over a decade later! As Tracy texted back when I asked her about it “Oh yeah!!! Yes we still have it. Haven’t used it here at this house. I’ll have to see if I have any clue as to how to use that telescope now. Lol.”
Carl and his very cool pumpkin orange Tesla Roadster and fond memories as neighbors
One of my other fond memories of Carl is when we were neighbors and Carl purchased one of the first electric cars made by Tesla – the Roadster! Both Hitesh and Carl are car buffs so talking about cars was a natural topic of conversation for those two. Imagine Hitesh’s surprise when Carl mentioned he had put a down payment on a new electric car made by Tesla – sight unseen! Hitesh asked him “Without even seeing it you’re going to buy it?” And then one day I still vividly remember working in my front garden and seeing this beautiful pumpkin orange sports car slowly drive up our road, it was like a slow motion movie. I couldn’t believe it when it drove into Carl’s driveway! It was the Tesla Roadster and it was gorgeous. Carl and Tracy looked like the coolest kids on the block! Hitesh and I stared at it in awe. Hitesh couldn’t wait to get a ride 😀. We immediately walked over and in Carl’s gracious style he gave us a ride. What a memory. As I was relaying this story to Tracy recently she excitedly exclaimed “Still have that orange Tesla!! It’s a collector’s item now!”
Reminiscing about Carl with the family my daughter Anjali remembered how one summer when she was in elementary school, Carl Uncle made her think he had eaten a bug 😜. She was eight years old then, and we were over at Carl and Tracy’s place on a warm summer evening. Knowing that my kids were paranoid about bugs, Carl playfully grabbed a bug and pretended to eat it commenting to the kids “It tastes sweet and crunchy.” Anjali told me as she was remembering “Even though Carl Uncle was laughing and joking the whole time, I think he really did eat the bug 😀.”
Carl the Mr. Handsome
Lately Instagram has become so in-vogue and Tracy who is a social media enthusiast has her own Insta account that I’ve been following for a while now. I noticed in her posts she would refer to Carl as her Handsome. I thought it maybe a one-time name for that particular post, but no – she called him Handsome all the time 😊 in most of her posts. I don’t know why, whenever she referred to Carl as Handsome it always made me smile and chuckle. It was so cute! I just assumed that was the name she gave Carl just for her Instagram posts. So imagine my surprise when I heard her call him that in person! I remember being over at their place for dinner and Tracy asked Carl “Handsome, can you reach up there and take down the port.” And Carl responded like that was his name!! It was so funny, so endearing, and so cute that it brought an instant smile to my face 😊. As I told Tracy when I spoke to her last week – Carl was indeed Handsome inside and out.
A good soul
One of the many qualities I admired about Carl was his ability to carry on a conversation and make it so interesting. He was an intelligent man who traveled the world and could speak on varied topics, but he somehow knew how to share what he knew with such humility that it made it a pleasure to talk to him. You came away learning something new without ever feeling like you had been talked at. He had a way of giving his opinion without making you feel that your opinion didn’t matter. He had a gentle way about him that just made you feel at ease while at the same time making you feel special.
Our last dinner together.
The last time we saw Carl was at their beautiful new home in Portola Valley last year. It was the first time we were heading to see their new place and just like old neighbors and old friends that we were, it felt like we had never been apart. It was a wonderful evening of good friends celebrating each other’s lives, catching up on our kids and families, and having dinner over wine and conversation. That evening was so perfect, one that I will remember very fondly.
Behind every great man is a great woman.
You’ve heard of the saying Behind Every Great Man is a Great Woman – Tracy now more than ever epitomizes that for me. I always knew Tracy was a strong woman, she quietly stood by Carl and let him be the star of a conversation and gently interjected when she felt the need, she was the rock behind the man. Always by his side, always cheering him on, always supportive, and always loving Carl. Tracy was the Yin to Carl’s Yang.
When I spoke to Tracy after Carl’s passing I was so humbled and in awe of her resilience during such a tough time. She is in quarantine, is not able to see anyone in person, or leave her home, and yet she had the spirit of a warrior. Sharing fond stories of Carl, talking about how she is staying healthy by cooking and exercising at home – “What else can I do? In many ways, it is all surreal and I feel this is all a dream and I am going to wake up.” she said to me on the phone. “Under normal circumstances I would have family and friends here to take care of me, and I would just be curled up in bed crying. But this quarantine thing has forced me to be strong.”
To hear her sound so strong and confident on the phone, made me so proud to know her. Tracy, you are my SHERO! Your strength during these very difficult times is something we can all emulate 💕💪🏼.
What life has taught us now
If anything the pandemic has taught us is that life is unpredictable. We never know in what direction it will lead. If there is a lesson to take from this experience is to love life the way Carl and Tracy did together. Love one another unconditionally, enjoy each other’s company, celebrate the everyday, celebrate the special moments, meet with family and friends, and don’t stress about what you can’t control.
Carl Quinn. Loving husband to Tracy, doting father to kids Nicki and Sean, a good friend, and amazing human. A kind and gentle soul that we will remember forever. Love you Carl, always!