NEW BEDFORD — Kaylen Quintin learned about her family’s past through the walls of Seamen’s Bethel.
Thomas Quintin Jr., her father, routinely showed his daughter and son, Noah, the names inscribed on the back wall dedicated to fishermen lost at sea.
Within the wall of names, he emphasized two: his grandfathers, Wilfred Quintin and Ronald Foley.
“I will certainly be taking my kids there,” Kaylen said. “Now, it won’t just be Wilfred Quintin and Ronald Foley, though, it will be Thomas Quintin, too.”
Thomas Quintin Jr. fell overboard from the Miss Shauna on Monday. The Coast Guard concluded its search for the third-generation fisherman from New Bedford on Tuesday night.
“You can bury anyone in a graveyard,” Kaylen said. “You can’t put anybody’s name up on that wall. I think that’s what he would have wanted. That's just so much more meaningful considering the situation.”
Quintin’s father fished. Thomas Quintin Sr. hoped his son wouldn’t follow in his footsteps, but shed tears by the dock when his daughter, Tammie, joined his namesake at sea for a time.
Her two sons are scallopers, too. One is currently on a vessel in the same area, 25 miles off the coast of Montauk, New York, where his uncle and godfather was lost earlier this week.
“It’s in our blood. It was in his blood,” Tammie Frye said. “It’s tragic and having lost two grandfathers you think it could happen, but I never did.”
Quintin entered the fishing industry when he was 17. He captained the vessel Patience for nearly 30 years.
During that time, nearly six years ago, he responded to a mayday call 10 miles off Martha’s Vineyard. Quintin rescued three men from their sinking pleasure craft the Cynthia Z.
He told the Standard-Times after his heroics he was “very, very happy” to help.
“I wish someone was there to do that for him,” Kaylen said. “He would always say how good that would make him feel.”
On Friday, his family also remembered Quintin for who he was when not out on the ocean.
Each brought up his multiple mission trips to India. Tammie spoke of a picture that showed her older brother wearing a tiara at an Indian orphanage. It housed young girls who were victims of sex trafficking. Quintin purchased tiaras and tutus for the girls.
“Every little girl should know she’s a princess,” Tammie remembered her brother saying. “That’s the kind of heart my brother had.”
“He just had such a heart for everyone, but especially children,” Kaylen said. “He just wanted every kid, especially his own, to have the best life possible.”
As the captain of Patience, he shared his duties with Kaylen while the vessel was docked. They'd pretend Kaylen was captain and her dad was first mate. He’d lay in the bunks while she stood at the helm.
“I would say, ‘Oh we’re about to hit something. There’s a storm coming,’” Kaylen said. “I’d wake him up and he’d be like ‘OK Captain Kaylen, what are we going to do?’ We’d pretend that I was saving the boat. He’d pick me up and say ‘You did such a great job.’”
Eric Quintin remembered his older brother convincing him it would be fun to drive 20 hours to New Orleans to watch the Patriots play the Bears in Super Bowl XX.
“They may never be in the Super Bowl again,” Eric remembered his brother said. “It took all the money I could get.”
They paid $400 for tickets, which wound up being near the top of the SuperDome. Prior to the game, wearing anti-Chicago pins, the two boisterously jawed with Bears fans.
“We were partying pretty good in the French Quarter, telling all the Chicago fans, ‘The Bears suck. We’re going to win. We’ll be back here tonight after the game. We’ll see who won,’” Eric said.
They left at halftime with the Patriots down 23-3.
“We walked out of there with our tails between our legs,” Eric said. “(We thought), we’ll get a head start. We don’t want to be around here.”
The trip followed a pattern of Eric following his brother regardless of the situation.
As children, Quintin convinced his younger brother they would sell candles to become millionaires. That after the duo planned to make it big by selling super hero costumes.
“I remember trying to sew these gloves by hand,” Eric said. “I don’t think I finished one glove. I don’t know what he planned to do.”
“He just always had these crazy ideas. That’s how his personality was. He was over the top with everything,” Tammie said. “If he loved you, he loved you over the top. If he had an idea, it was over the top. Nothing my brother ever did was just average."
Later in life during the turn of the millennium, Quintin bought into the Y2K hype.
“He bought hundreds of pounds of peanut butter and wheat and had it all stored at my mother’s,” Eric said. “Tammie’s son, said ‘We’re still eating that peanut butter today.”
Neither the Coast Guard nor the crew of the Miss Shauna determined how Quentin fell overboard. The family believes a medical episode may have resulted in a tumble off the vessel. His father died at 55 from a heart attack.
In searching through three years of text messages sent by her brother, Frye found a moment of serenity. Quintin texted his sister about some day meeting the Lord in heaven, noting it might come sooner than anyone would expect.
"That brings me peace," Frye said "But it doesn’t mean I don’t want him here. Because I do."
Eric added, "“Neither of us feared dying because we know our ultimate destination is better than here. He went and he’s where he wants to be."
Follow Michael Bonner on Twitter @MikeBBonnerSCT