Jim Quillen, born in 1919, had a difficult childhood; by the time he was an adolescent, he was regularly getting into serious trouble. At twenty-two—chained at the wrists and sentenced to forty-five years behind bars—he saw the inside of United States Penitentiary Alcatraz Island for the first time.
Many years later Quillen returned to the island, which by that time was part of the National Park Service system. For several years, he was one of the island’s most popular volunteers—retelling his story as part of the audio tour, and sharing his past with visitors fascinated by his life experiences.
Jim Quillen died in 1998 and is survived by his wife, daughter, and granddaughters.