The sun had long set over the Gulf of Mexico. Flecks of gold twinkled in the navy sky. Six empty stockings hung on the mantel with care. Santa’s snack was poured and plated, with nibbles for nine hardworking reindeer on offer.
The Quinn family—John, Amy, Madeleine (11), Genevieve (9), Austin (5), and Quincy, the Cavalier King Charles spaniel, snuggled together on the sofa for the annual read of the beloved Christmas poem: ’Twas the Night Before Christmas.
After establishing a full-time residence in Naples in 2020, the Quinn family intended spending holidays and summers at their home in Southern California. However, COVID was still restricting travel, so the new Neapolitans decided to stay put and celebrate Christmas in Florida—necessitating a quick address change with the North Pole gift depository.
Thus began the genesis of new family traditions. Leading up to the big day, the family looks forward to the Teddy Bear Tea at The Ritz-Carlton, Naples, viewing the holiday lights at the Naples Botanical Garden, attending Christmas Eve service at Covenant Church of Naples, and hosting “Friendsmas,” a fun night spent exchanging white elephant gifts with friends.
John and Amy first became acquainted with Naples in 2010, when they attended a wedding. After exploring the coastal locale, the two looked at each other and said: “We could live here one day.” Amy remembers thinking: “It felt a lot like California.”
John, a third-generation graduate of the United States Naval Academy (1991), was born in Bethesda, Maryland. His father (John Quinn), a 1962 graduate, spent 22 years in the navy. His grandfather, also John Quinn, was born in Texas and served as an admiral for the U.S. Navy for 36 years. If you take a deep dive into John’s family history, you learn his lineage includes a Texas land and cattle baron by the name of Fountain Goodlet Oxsheer; his story is detailed by Benton R. White in The Forgotten Cattle King. Fountain’s daughter Lena married John Thomas Quinn—John’s great grandfather—in 1895.
John graduated from the Naval Academy with a mechanical engineering degree; he chose to fulfill his obligatory five years of government service as a submariner. The challenging work included a year and a half of education in nuclear engineering. On the USS Sam Rayburn, a moored training ship in Charleston, South Carolina, John was immersed for two months in the theory, design, and operation of nuclear reactors. He was then sent to Groton, Connecticut, to learn about sub-tactical deployment.
It was in San Diego where he spent his time on an actual working submarine: the USS Pasadena. “My hall number was SSN-752,” he fondly remembers. In total, he was there for 37 months—from April 1993 to May 1996, which included two deployments, both six months long, to the Persian Gulf.
Although San Diego was his home port, he recalls that “80 percent of time in that period was spent on the submarine.” About life underwater, John says, “You form a bond you can’t replicate elsewhere; you are dependent on each other for your life. Everyone wants to get home safely.” In 1993, he was pinned with a dolphin badge by a U.S. Navy commodore—identifying him as a qualified member of the submarine community—one of the most difficult pins to earn in the navy.
Why did he choose to leave the military? “I didn’t love it enough to stay in it,” he relates. “You can be married to the military. If I were to forecast spending another 15 to 20 years in the navy, I could guarantee that eight of those years would be spent underwater. It’s a hard life.”
John, who had always been intrigued by the nuances of business, went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1996. A job in strategic planning with the Walt Disney Company in Anaheim took him back to California. He then left the state to work as director of corporate development for a health care company in Annapolis and for a start-up technology company before making his way back to California (Orange County again) to work with a network switching company. In May 2007, he became a managing partner in Lucas Group’s military division, connecting client companies to top U.S. military talent.
It was during this last stint in California that John finally met Amy. “The third time’s a charm,” he winks, explaining they met at church, where they both played in a recreational soccer league. It was 2006. They married in 2008 and lived in Irvine and then Newport Beach; all three children were born in Southern California.
Born, raised, and educated in the Golden State, Amy stayed close to home for her postsecondary studies. After earning a bachelor’s degree in 2001 in political science from Chapman University in Orange, California, Amy worked for a state senator in Sacramento. She then moved to Washington, D.C., to “work for the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative and the Department of Homeland Security.” Although at first intrigued with government and public policy, she realized Washington was not the best environment for her. “It was fast paced,” she says. “There were long hours, and my quality of life suffered.”
She moved back to California and enrolled in Claremont Graduate University, obtaining a master’s degree in organizational behavior and evaluation science. Upon completion, she worked for the Los Angeles County Office of Education, evaluating the outcomes of middle and high school emotional awareness programs. Amy served as adjunct faculty in the graduate program of organizational psychology at Vanguard University of Southern California while also completing the courses and hours necessary to become a licensed marriage and family therapist in the western state.
Three children later, she found a program through Northwest Nazarene University that allowed her to pursue a doctorate online. In December 2022, Amy defended her dissertation, earning a PhD in education. This past May, she walked in the commencement exercises in Nampa, Idaho.
When an opportunity arose for John to take over management of the family businesses, John and Amy realized a move to Florida was possible. It also meant Grandpa John could retire to Naples from Maryland and live nearby his grandchildren. John, Amy, and the kids now spend the summer months in Southern California. “The kids enjoy connecting with their cousins; they attend camps, and life is more relaxed,” shares Amy.
When in Naples, a typical day is like any other for an active family. “We are busy from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.,” says Amy. During downtime, they often head to the beach.
John’s day also includes his work as managing director of the family businesses and as president of its charitable arm—Fountain 33 Foundation. He also serves on the board of directors for the Community School of Naples Foundation, as well as the Lee Health Foundation board of trustees.
Amy spends two days a week in private practice as a therapist. She is co-founder and executive director of Fountain 33 Foundation; she also serves on the board of trustees for the Community School of Naples and on the Kids’ Minds Matter advisory board.
Philanthropic endeavors are an important part of John and Amy’s life together. “We are honored to have the ability to give,” says Amy. When they first moved here, they were amazed to find there were so many locally focused charities. “We decided to get involved and align [Fountain 33 Foundation] with them,” explains Amy.
In their short time in Naples, the couple have become regulars on the charity circuit. This coming season, they are chairs for the Sound Minds event benefiting the David Lawrence Centers for Behavioral Health; Fountain 33 Foundation is the presenting sponsor. You will be sure to find them at other local charity events, too, including Youth Haven’s Starry Nights gala—where they are honorary chairpersons, the Kids’ Minds Matter celebration, and the always popular Naples Winter Wine Festival.
With their generous hearts and their concern for the mental health of those who live in the community, giving is very much a part of the Quinn family narrative and—just as with holiday traditions—will undoubtedly be passed on through the generations.
Family comes first in the Quinn home. John and Amy have established guidelines that have served them well—thus far—raising their three children.
During season, the couple have a busy social calendar. “We try to limit our outings to no more than two nights per week—preferring the weekends to go out,” says Amy. “We like to stay home during the week so that we can eat dinner together—around the table—not the television.”
Bedtime is a sacred time in their home. “It’s often when kids open up,” Amy explains.
During homework time and bedtime, phones are put away, and tablets are only allowed on the weekends. The Quinn children earn time to play on them through good grades and completion of chores. “Weekends are for friends and phone conversations,” reminds Amy.
John and Amy provide the opportunity for each child to figure out their specific talents and interests. John relates, for example, he has no expectations for young Austin to follow a career in the navy. He looks forward to finding out what his children will choose for careers and who they will become.
About Madeleine’s wish to be a tennis star he opines, “You don’t magically become a tennis pro.” He says those types of accomplishments come from hard work and training. “We encourage self-discovery and help [our children] become the best they can be,” he states.
Amy adds, “We try to focus on praising their efforts, not the results.”
Holiday decor: Light Up Naples
Wardrobe: Saks Fifth Avenue, Naples
Stylists: Katie Palmeri, Alexander Hayes
Select jewelry: Chopard
Hair and makeup: Lily Avalos, Lily Beauty + Co.