Mark H. Quattro, a well-known community businessman, former selectman, member of the Democratic party and community volunteer, passed away Thursday afternoon.
"It's a devastating loss for the community," said Mary Tomolonius, who worked with Quattro on the Sam Collins Day Committee, the Democratic Party and more. "He touched so many people's lives. I'm just in a state of shock."
A justice of the peace, Quattro was a longtime attorney in town.
Quattro's community involvement included serving on the Board of Selectmen, the Democratic Town Committee, The Lions Club, the Chamber of Commerce, Sam Collins Day committee and more. He was also an avid skier and golfer.
He died at the Chippanee Golf Club in Bristol. Many said it was a heart attack.
"He was doing something he loved," Tomolonius said.
Julius Fialkiewicz, owner of Realty Works in Collinsville, worked with Quattro professionally but said he was also a great friend and advocate for the town.
"We were just great friends," he said. "I'm going to miss him and the town's going to miss him. He's done an awful lot."
Fialkiewicz, a Republican, said Quattro "spoke his mind" but was always respectful and professional, even when the two disagreed on an issue.
Town Clerk Linda Smith interacted with Quattro regularly, not only through her job but also while her kids were growing up alongside Quattro's. In addition to the community and charity events, he was a big presence at games and school activities.
"It's a great loss to the community," she said. "My heart goes out to his family."
Kristen Garlans worked for him for 11 years.
"Mark was just the kindest, most generous person I've ever met," she said.
At his office Friday afternoon, there was still a state of shock. The office will handle any pending legal matters and questions at (860) 693-3836 but it was more a personal loss than anything.
"I looked for his car when I came in," Garlans said. "Nobody can believe it."
Legal assistant and office manager Fran Barrett, whom Quattro just called "boss" worked with Quattro for several years when he started at Updike, Kelly & Spellacy in 1981 and then when he started his own practice in 1989.
"I just don't know what I'm going to do without him," she said.
Lenny Isaac, an attorney with offices in West Hartford and Waterbury, stopped by to reminisce. He said the two worked together on various cases for more than 15 years. He remembered Quattro's passion for skiing.
"He would fly across the world to find cold weather," Isaac said.
Kristin Oswald, immediate past president at the chamber, remembers how Quattro provided legal counsel and review free of charge for the chamber. He was a member of the nominating and awards committee. She remembers how just this year, two members of the awards committee received awards — Dennis Cardello of Collinsville Savings Bank for Business person of the year and Marge (and Gordon) Harmon for service to Canton. Quattro managed to come up with different stories for each of them and keep the element of surprise for both, she said.
"He was very clever," she said, adding that he always added humor to his chamber presentations.
Oswald said Quattro was always generous, supporting the Made in Canton Booth at Sam Collins Day year after year.
Phil Worley, executive director of the chamber, remembers how the organization's scholarship fund was $500 short this year. Without being asked Quattro donated the money so the organization could give two Canton High School seniors $1,000 each.
"It was just the kind of guy he was," Worley said.
Also a supporter of the arts, Collinsville artist and teacher Kate McAllister said he was treasurer for the Collinsville Artists Initiative, helped her receive a grant for a mini golf build-off event in Collinsville, and always had advice on how to manage the finances. He was the voice of reason, she said.
"You had a lot of crazy artists running around and he was our concrete block," she said.
Some members of McAllister's family also had memberships to the club in Bristol where he died and knew him through golf.
"He was a really great guy and it's really sad," McAllister said.
Quattro graduated from Sacred Heart High School in 1973 and received a degree in Urban Studies from the University of Connecticut and a law degree from Georgetown.
He and wife Linda have two children.
Quattro would have turned 57 tomorrow (Saturday, June 23), but sadly, his Facebook page is filled with condolences rather than birthday wishes.
Quattro recently spoke to Canton High School seniors at a voter registration session. Although speaking for the Democratic Party he pointed out the "black eyes" of many famous presidents, including Native American relationships under Andrew Jackson and the Japanese internment camps authorized by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
He told the students to be independent thinkers regardless of party and said he still believed he and they could make a difference.
He told the students, "Get out there and change the world."
Quattro's obituary and funeral arrangements can be viewed here.