Nicole “Colee” Quinn

Nicole “Colee” Quinn

Passionate, fearless, vibrant, artistic, lively, non-judgmental, loyal and loved wearing bows in her hair

Colee was a sassy, passionate woman with long dark hair and bright blue eyes. She was as vibrant and beautiful as her favorite flower, the stargazer lily, which she had tattooed on her body. Her mother called her “her shooting star.” An only child, she was extremely close to both her parents. Daddy’s “little gear head” spent hours with him working on cars and was a sought after mechanic to her friends.

There was nothing Colee couldn’t do if she wanted to. She could play the guitar and liked to draw and was passionate about the singer Eminem. She was a competitive swimmer and spent most of her school years on the swim team. She was fearless and a fish in the water. Her mom, Nancy, remembers Colee going off the diving board at the swim club when she was four. When Colee didn’t come up right away, mom ran to the edge and dove in, clothes and all, but Colee had it handled.

After high school, Colee worked at an eye doctor’s office while going to school for medical assisting, stopping out for a time when her father died. She eventually went back and got her diploma and immediately went to the cemetery in cap and gown to share her achievement with her dad. She designed a tattoo with wrenches and a spark plug in his honor, which was inscribed on her chest. Around the tattoo in his handwriting was a message from a card he wrote when he was out of town – “All my love, Dad, see you soon.”

Colee was proud to be working and helping her mom after her dad died. She said, “You took care of me my entire life, I want to give back.” She even kept up the tradition that her father started of giving her mom yellow roses on her wedding anniversary. Unfortunately, before she could start her career, and despondent over her dad’s death, Colee started using drugs. “She wanted to forget, to numb her pain, her mom said. “She was sober more than in active addiction, and she struggled, but was doing well.”

Colee sought treatment and was preparing to get her medical assisting licensure renewed when she passed away. “I don’t know what went wrong that day,” her mom said. “She was at a meeting the night before.” Her mom went to her apartment where Colee’s beloved dog Kip led her to daughter.

Exactly 13 months after Colee’s death, her cousin Kristen had a baby who she named Isabella Quinn after Colee, and her cousin Dale gave her daughter the middle name Cole in her honor. Both her first and last names live on.

Colee’s parents signed cards with the words “all my love, all my life,” a tradition that Colee carried on with her. Nancy plans to get a tattoo aml-aml in Colee’s handwriting, in remembrance of their special bond. Nancy misses mother-daughter date nights, watching SVU while eating snacks with Colee and the way she said “mommy” even in adulthood.

Nancy is now a moderator for the “Not in Vain” Facebook group that helps others deal with loss from substance use. She said, “I never thought I would have to teach the world about my daughter, I thought I would teach her about the world. I just assumed she would always be here.”

Colee’s mother, Nancy Quinn, provided the information for this narrative.

July 2, 1993-February 22, 2018

Age 24-Lived with the disease of addiction almost 2 years

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