There was no mistaking the pride that marked the gait of the foursome sailing through the crowd in City Hall plaza last Wednesday morning. There was incoming Speaker Christine Quinn, suddenly the city’s second-most-important official. Alongside her in a black striped pantsuit was her partner, Kim Catullo, an attorney. Flanking the two proud women were two trim, white-haired men in dark suits who had their own stories to tell.
Lawrence Quinn, 79, has regularly accompanied his daughter to demonstrations and rallies, particularly those involving labor issues. Quinn is a union man who worked at the old Sperry plant on Long Island where he went through two tough strikes as a shop steward in Local 444 of the IUE, the electrical workers’ union.
Anthony Catullo, 80, is Kim’s father. Not long after the two daughters became romantically involved, the two men discovered they had something else in common: Both served in the military in the Pacific during World War II. Quinn was in the Navy, while Catullo was in the Marines, posted to China. Two years ago, Chris Quinn said, the extended family traveled to Washington, D.C., for the unveiling of the World War II memorial located on the mall, between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.
“It was without a doubt the best weekend of my life,” she said last week. “My dad had his dog tags and his ships’ logs from his service; Kim’s dad can still fit into his Marine jacket. They talked about their experiences in the war as though it was something anyone could have done. As if what they did wasn’t in any way important. We just listened.”