The Baton Rouge of Zylpha McAdams Quinn’s childhood was one of horses and buggies, no electricity and a population of less than 12,000 people when she was born 108 years ago.
Her hometown transformed over the past century into the bustling metropolis it was on Wednesday when Quinn passed away.
Davis Rhorer, director of the Downtown Development District, and Quinn’s grandson, said “Zip,” as she was known, was an extraordinary person who lived her life with zest.
Rhorer said Quinn lived her entire life in East Baton Rouge Parish, and she could even remember when Plank Road was really planks.
Quinn was born in a house on Lakeland Drive in Spanish Town, Rhorer said.
She died just a few blocks away on University Walk.
She attended St. Joseph’s Academy before studying at Southwestern Louisiana Institute, now the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, said her daughter, Janet Rhorer.
Quinn later became the housemother of several dorms at LSU and was proud to say that both of her children and all 13 of her grandchildren graduated from LSU, Janet Rhorer said.
All throughout Quinn’s life, she had a special love of dancing, her daughter said.
Quinn and her husband, “a very handsome couple,” spent much of their time on the dance floor, a pastime that Quinn continued even at 102, Janet Rhorer said.
“We’re sure she danced her way into heaven,” she said.
Janet Rhorer said in her mother’s later years when her vision and hearing had left her, Quinn remained pleasant and gracious, even keeping her weekly appointments at the hairdresser.
Janet Rhorer remembered how just recently, when she was finishing a visit with Quinn at her home, her mother apologized for “not getting up to see her out.”
“She never lost her sense of Southern gentility,” Janet Rhorer said. “Her legacy was her special gift to us. She taught us how to grow old with grace and dignity.”