Scranton Remembers ‘Ozzie’

SCRANTON -- A man who was devoted to Scranton and fought to make neighborhoods better places to live and work has passed away.

Robert "Ozzie" Quinn was the president of the Hill Neighborhood Association.

He was known by most by just his nickname Ozzie. And it's hard to describe just what he meant to the city of Scranton.

The past few years you would see him buzzing around this office on Prescott Avenue, but, he left his mark in every neighborhood in the city.

You'll sometimes hear Scranton called a city that feels like a small town, and if there's anyone who deserved to be on a first name basis here, it's Ozzie.

The Hill Neighborhood Association office on Prescott Avenue had noticeably less energy after losing their president Robert "Ozzie" Quinn to lung cancer on Tuesday.

"The whole city, I'm sure, is devastated. The Hill Neighborhood Association is by not having Ozzie. I mean, you cannot replace him," said Paula Yaggi, Hill Neighborhood Association.

Ozzie worked there most recently but spent his life as a public servant to his native city. He worked in city hall under Mayor Jimmy Connors' administration, though never as an elected official.

"I think he liked to be the person on the outside advocating for the people and speaking up to the powerful and speaking up to the elected officials," said Mayor Connors.

He was known for speaking up and advocating for the less fortunate in many ways.

He raised money to let needy kids swim for free at Nay Aug Park and even while sick, led an effort to clean up vacant lots in the hill section. One on Clay Avenue and Poplar Street will soon be a park.

"He gave me hope for the city, there's so much negativity. But, he'd do some, he'd accomplish some little thing for somebody and I'd think, 'oh, there's hope. Look at what he's doing.''' He was so inspirational," said Paula Yaggi, Hill Neighborhood Association.

"He had grandchildren, a wife and kids, but he still dedicated his time to the neighborhood. You know, he had a mission and he carried it out," said Nicole Pettinato, Hill Neighborhood Association.

And inside the modest office he's called home the past few years, Ozzie's friends say they'll continue that mission. He prepared them well.

"What can we learn from him? To love everybody, to help, to do anything that you can, not to judge, and just to be there," added Yaggi.

Ozzie Quinn will be laid to rest this weekend. Those closest to him say the services will be a who's who of Scranton because of all the lives Ozzie touched.

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