News of John’s death in a car accident near downtown Houston was conveyed via the Houston Chronicle’s website today, October 29, 2009. The news story may be accessed here. The Library expresses the deepest sympathy to Mr. O'Quinn's family and friends.
HISTORY OF O'QUINN LAW LIBRARY
A surplus barracks building housed our first law library, and tradition has it that one could see the bare earth through wide cracks in its floor. As Dean A.A. White and Librarian Mabel Smith personally shelved the first few cartons of case reporters in 1947, there was little to suggest that the library would become the largest and most prestigious in the area. But it did, and it nourished the learning and the careers of thousands of new lawyers. Among them was John M. OQuinn, whose generous gift for the library made the 1996 renovation of the library possible. The three-year project began at the top with replacement of the plaza roof and continued throughout the building, from its stunning new entrance to the visible and invisible aspects of its advanced learning and communications technologies. In 2001, the library's face and contents changed dramatically as a result of Tropical Storm Allison. The library completed rebuilding its collection and remodeling its space in 2007.
John M.O'Quinn graduated magna cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in 1967. He was State Moot Court champion in 1966 and Editor-In-Chief of the Houston Law Review 1966-1967. He served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Houston, South Texas College of Law, and Texas Southern University College of Law. The National Law Journal named him one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers in America. Texas Lawyer named him one of the "100 Legal Legends of Texas", and the Houston Chronicle listed him among the five best Texas Trial Lawyers of the past century. John O'Quinn received the honor of Distinguished Alumnus from the University of Houston in 1993 and the University of Houston Law Center in 1996.