Olson Burke-Sullivan Funeral And Cremation Center

Obituary Detail

October 27, 1932 March 10, 2023
October 27, 1932 -- March 10, 2023

Regina Quintana, Age:90

Regina Quintana 90, of Wilmette, IL passed away peacefully on March 10, 2023, surrounded by loving family.

Regina was our mother figure and sister and a firm advocate for social justice. She challenged us to be better.  She had many friends and was a well-loved member of her Wilmette, Illinois, community for over 40 years.

Regina was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba, on October 27, 1932. She studied at a Catholic High School in New York. She was an attorney in private practice in Cuba and later joined the Cuban Telephone Company. There Regina and Bertha, her spiritual sister, would work together in the international division as they were both fluent in English. Regina learned to play classical piano and was an accomplished pianist in Havana.

On December 29, 1959, Regina and Bertha, fearing the advent of Communism in Cuba, received a US visa and arrived in the US. Regina enrolled in school and worked at the American Medical Association during the day. In 1970, she completed and earned a State of Illinois teaching certification.  A proud day was soon after on January 27, 1970, she became a proud naturalized American citizen in Chicago.

Regina went on to teach at Regina Dominican High School, Wilmette, and Wheeling Public Schools. In 1977 she joined the Chicago Public Schools teaching 6th grade at James Otis Elementary school. Agustin Gomez-Leal remembers that she introduced herself as a teacher who had left her country of Cuba. She drew  two dozen small circles on the chalkboard and said ‘These represent families, their children, belongings, and homes. Then she slowly drew a thick circle around the small circle and said, I come from a country where the State owns us all and there is no democracy.

That was the first of many life lessons.

She worked tirelessly with immigrant families and their access to a quality education. She taught hundreds of students with love, discipline and instilled pride and confidence. Regina dedicated decades to advance education with CPS administrator Carlos Azcoitia in the Vocational and Career Department in the Chicago Public Schools and as Assistant Principal at Kelvyn Park High School with Principal Diana Azcoitia. Regina was a life- long advocate for quality Bilingual Education and a proud active member of the Chicago Teacher’s Union. Regina retired from the Chicago Public Schools in 1999.

While living in Wilmette, she dedicated her time to preserve the former Mallinckrodt College from overdevelopment. Her efforts paid off and part of the site became the Mallinckrodt Center, part of the Wilmette Park District.

In her free time, Regina enjoyed gardening and taking care of her many cats. She told her friends that nature feeds the human soul. She will be remembered as a driving force for her efforts to improve educational opportunities for children and preserve green space in her community.

Regina is preceded in death by her mother, Dinorah (nee Munoz) Guillois and stepfather, Jacques Guillois; her father, Mariano Quintana; and her brothers, Juan Quintana and Mariano Quintana.

She is survived by her spiritual sister, Bertha Alicia Hernandez, of Wilmette; and her adoptive sons, Carlos Azcoitia of Morton Grove, Illinois, and Agustin Gomez-Leal of Chicago, Illinois.

A visitation to celebrate Regina’s life will be held Sunday, March 26, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. with a service to follow at Olson Burke/ Sullivan Funeral & Cremation Center, 6467 N Northwest Hwy, Chicago. IL 60631.