Richard E. Quillman, 84, retired East Fallowfield engineer

Richard E.Quillman
Richard E.Quillman
Posted: November 06, 2012

Richard E. Quillman, 84, of East Fallowfield Township, a retired consulting engineer who defined his life less by his trade than by his love of bird dogs and horses and his artistry in woodworking, died Tuesday, Oct. 23, of kidney failure at Seasons Hospice, Phoenixville.

Long a habitué of Chester County's pastoral heartland, Mr. Quillman liked nothing more than to saddle up and roam the countryside with his English and German shorthaired pointers.

In middle age, he raised sporting breeds at his Far Fields Farm in Chester Springs and trained them for upland hunting of game birds. For at least 15 years, "we had puppies running all over the house," his son Stuart recalled.

During the 1960s, Mr. Quillman became a familiar judge at field trial events. From horseback, he graded the dogs on their skill at finding pheasants and quail that had been salted through the hedgerows, and at coming on point. "He was interested in the discipline of the dogs," his son said. Seeing them work in the field "was his joy."

With advancing years, Mr. Quillman turned his attention to dogs not to the manor born, adopting shelter rescues that had been abused. His last two were elderly Labrador retrievers, a black and a yellow, and as ill health forced his hospitalization, he fretted endlessly about them.

"Dad was more concerned about those dogs, that they would wind up with someone who wouldn't treat them as well as he did," his son said. "He made a real stink about it," and wouldn't let up until a worthy home was found for them on another farm.

Raised in Wayne, Mr. Quillman graduated from the Haverford School, and in 1952 earned an engineering degree from Lehigh University. He worked for Philadelphia Electric Co. until 1965, when his father persuaded him to join the family business. He spent most of his career at Warren E. Quillman & Associates, an engineering consulting firm that advised private and public entities on industrial pumps.

Also like father, like son, Mr. Quillman was a woodworker. He specialized in reproductions of 18th-century furniture, from Chippendale side tables to Queen Anne sideboards and candle stands.

But not every piece he made would fit in a corner. He copied, without blueprints, outbuildings that he had studied during trips to Williamsburg, Va., including the stables where he kept horses.

Mr. Quillman was a hunter - fowl only - and crafted his own duck boat. The 1920s cedar reproduction, twelve by six feet and with shelving, is to be auctioned this month by Wiederseim Associates at the Ludwigs Corner firehouse.

Laid up years ago with a broken ankle, he also took to carving wooden birds, replicating those he saw at his feeders or remembered from vacations at Stone Harbor, N.J. Among his effects, his family found a box of the birds, which will become Christmas gifts for his grandchildren.

He branched out to decoys, and used them in hunting on Maryland's Eastern Shore. He relocated there in the early 1990s, but the move didn't take. By 1996, he was back in Chester County, on a smaller farm depicted in Futhey and Cope's History of Chester County, Pennsylvania 1881.

He was a member of the Buck and Doe Trust, a conservation nonprofit, and the Countrymen, a group of elder-gentlemen sportsmen with much to reminisce about.

In addition to his son, Mr. Quillman is survived by another son, R. Scott; a daughter, Elizabeth Hardie Diament; seven grandchildren; and his former wife, Diane Scott Darby.

He will be interred this month in a private service at St. Peter's Church in the Great Valley, Malvern.

Donations may be made to the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School, New Bolton Center, 382 W. Street Rd., Kennett Square, Pa. 19348, Att.: Jane Simone.

Contact Kathleen Tinney at 610-313-8106.

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