Every year since 1978, The Athletic Club and now the Athletic Club Foundation has selected an Irish Citizen of the Year. This honor goes to a man or woman who exemplifies the spirit of their Irish heritage through their continued service to the Indianapolis community, to their family and other selfless acts that personify being Irish.


John is the son of Barbara Flynn Quinn and Francis B. Quinn, who was also named Irish Citizen of the Year in 2005. John is the fourth of 13 children. His paternal grandparents, John J. and Margaret Quinn, immigrated to the United States from County Galway, Ireland. Together, John and his wife, Mary Helen, have two children and four grandchildren. Being a grandparent is one of John’s joys.  

“I’m honored to follow in the footsteps of my father and so many others who have been named Irish Citizen of the Year in the past,” said John J. Quinn. “I’m proud to accept this award in memory of my brother, Mickey, who sadly passed away last year. As the former owner of Mickey Quinn’s Pub in Broad Ripple, he was an integral part of our community and I look forward to continuing to serve Indianapolis in his honor.” 

John and his wife, Mary Helen Lyons Quinn, are both Indianapolis natives. In fact, they were born on the same day at St. Vincent’s hospital, delivered by the same doctor, and their mothers shared a hospital room. The couple did not meet until their freshman year of high school. They began dating in the summer of 1965 and later wed in June of 1969. John and Mary Helen will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary this summer. 

Following his graduation from Cathedral High School, John attended the University of Notre Dame where he graduated Cum Laude from the School of Business in 1969. Eight straight years of Irish education! Through further educational courses, John became a Certified Public Accountant and Chartered Life Underwriter. To this day, he continues to work as a financial and investment consultant. Some of his most notable work was for Indiana State government agencies. John served as a board member for the State Office Building Commission and a Chairman for Indiana Insurance Industry Legislative Group before being brought on as a Treasurer and Chairman for Lieutenant and eventual Governor Joseph Kernan. John’s input and hard work did not go unrecognized. He is a two-time recipient of Indiana’s highest honor, the Sagamore of the Wabash. He was awarded the honor in 2002 by Governor Frank O’Bannon and again in 2005 by Governor Kernan.  

Throughout his career in Indianapolis, John always focused on giving back and helping others, serving on the board of multiple professional and non-profit organizations. Those efforts include working with committees involving his alma mater’s Cathedral High School and the University of Notre Dame through the Notre Dame Club of Indianapolis. In 2020, John was inducted into the Cathedral High School Circle of Excellence for his contributions to the school and community.  

Additionally, John’s community impact can be seen through his hours of volunteer work as a youth basketball coach at the Jordan YMCA and a baseball coach for the Allisonville Christian Little League. John has also donated his time and talents to the community and the arts, working with Conner Prairie, a living history museum, Central Indiana Community Foundation, the Indianapolis Archdiocese, and many others. 

Currently, John spends his time between Indianapolis and his second home in Naples, Florida. He enjoys spending time with his family, keeping up with financial markets, volunteering with community projects, golfing, beekeeping and rooting for Notre Dame, the Colts and the Pacers. 


2023 John J. Quinn

2022 Jane Coffey Elliott

2021 John Hegarty

2020 US Senator Joe S. Donnelly

2019 Kevin Charles Murray

2018 The McGinley Family

2017 Mary Coffey

2016 Cardinal (former Archbishop) Joseph W. Tobin, C.S.s.R

2015 Danny O'Malia

2014 Tom O'Brien

2013 Robert V. Welch, Jr.

2012 Bob & Dick McNamara

2011 Sr. Rita Ann Wade & Sr. Barbara McClelland

2010 Fr. Glen O'Connor

2009 Patricia (Pat) Cronin

2008 Bob Sullivan

2007 Pat Fisher

2006 Tim McGinley

2005 F. Quinn

2004 Fr. Tom Murphy

2003 Hugh B. McGowan

2002 Michael O'Connor

2001 Francis Michael Layden

2000 Thomas Redmond

1999 James W. Loughery

1998 William J. Mooney

1997 Larry O'Connor

1996 William T. Brady

1995 James L. Murphy

1994 Sheriff Joseph G. McAtee

1993 Governor Frank O'Bannon

1992 Michael J. Kiley

1991 Bernard Crimmins

1990 Arthur J. Sullivan

1989 James J. Curtis

1988 William K. Drew

1987 G. Christopher Duffy

1986 Robert V. Welch

1985 Charles E. Stimming, Sr.

1984 Jack Moriarty

1983 J. Thomas O'Brien

1982 John M. Ryan

1981 William K. McGowan, Jr.

1980 James C. Welch

1979 James L. Tuohy

1978 William E. Kennedy, Jr.

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