The president of The Hundred Club in 1985, Atty. Paul J. McQuillan, died Feb. 7 in New Britain General Hospital after a long illness. Following his presidency, Mr. McQuillan remained active in the club as a director.
Mr. McQuillan was widely known throughout the state as a trial lawyer. He was successful in numerous high profile civil and criminal cases.
In 1977 he handled a unique assignment. Mr. McQuillan was named the special prosecutor in the one-man grand jury investigation into the murder of Mrs. Barbara Gibbons. Her son, Peter Reilly, had been convicted of the crime. The grand jury’s finding helped clear Mr. Reilly.
In the aftermath of the grand jury’s report, Gov. Ella Grasso named Mr. McQuillan chairman of the State Police Citizens Advisory Committee. In addition to this formal position, Mr. McQuillan advised Mrs. Grasso on a variety of issues.
His counsel was also sought by Gov. Bill O’Neill. Last year Mr. O’Neill said publicly, “Paul was extremely helpful to me. I appreciated his willingness to share his expertise and insight with me.”
Mr. McQuillan was appointed by Mr. O’Neill to chair the Judicial Selection Committee which was created to ensure that candidates for judgeships were qualified. Earlier he served on the Board of Pardons and as corporation counsel in New Britain.
Born in Bristol the son of the late John and Helena (Toomey) McQuillan, he lived most of his life in New Britain and graduated from New Britain High School in 1946. At age 18 he enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in Italy. Upon his return home he attended Teachers College of Connecticut in New Britain (now Central Connecticut University) and completed his studies at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. Following graduation he reentered the U.S. Army and served as a 1st Lieutenant during the Korean Conflict.
Mr. McQuillan returned to Georgetown University and in 1956 graduated from its School of Law. He began practicing law as a principal in the firm of Lexton, Januszewski & McQuillan in 1959.
Mr. McQuillan, a past president of the Connecticut Trial Lawyers Association, was a recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award. Georgetown University honored him with its John Carrol Alumni Award. Last year Central Connecticut University presented him with a Doctor of Criminal Justice degree. Mr. McQuillan is survived by his wife, Mary (Martin) McQuillan, his son Martin and daughters Mrs. Mary Celeste Bianco, Mrs. Anne Vroom, Mrs. Aileen LaGanzo, Mrs. Julia Lahey and Mrs. Megan Lenzi; and two brothers Richard and David McQuillan; two sisters, Mrs. Alma McAuley and Mrs. Jane Sweeney; 11 grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.
A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated Feb. 11 in St. Francis of Assisi Church, New Britain. During the homily, Rev. Paul Guido spoke about the exemplary character of Mr. McQuillan and his deep concern for others. David McQuillan recalled events of the past that members of the McQuillan family cherish