Nathaniel Quinn, Sr. was born and reared in the small rural community of Lima, Oklahoma. He completed his elementary grades at Lima, high schooling at Wewoka Douglass, his B.A. degree from the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore at Princess Anne, Maryland, and his Ed.M. from the University of Oklahoma. He also spent two years in the U.S. Army and completed his eight-year obligation by serving six years in the Air Force Reserve.
During his professional career, he served as mathematics instructor/coach at his alma mater, Wewoka Douglass, Ardmore Douglass, and for the Boley Public School system working at the State Training School Facility for Boys. Coach Quinn was recognized as being one of the state’s most successful coaches during his tenure at Boley High School. His Boley teams won three state basketball championships, and he was chosen Coach-of-the-Year in 1975. He coached the Oklahoma North Basketball All State Team in 1976. In 1977, Nathaniel was inducted into the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the Oklahoma Coaches Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in July 1981.
Nathaniel was hired as principal at John Lilley Correctional Center (formerly the State Training School Facility for Boys) on May 17, 1984, and served a dual role as Principal of the John Lilley Facility and Acting Superintendent of Schools from April 1987 to October 1987. He was then hired as Superintendent of Schools for the Oklahoma Department of Corrections System from October 1987 until his retirement in July 1990. During his 34 years as an educator, he received numerous awards both personally and professionally.
Nathaniel Quinn suffered a heart attack, February 23, 1996 while battling grass fires in the I.X.L., Oklahoma community. He had been a member of the I.X.L. Volunteer Fire Department since 1990. He was the treasurer of the fire department, member of the Masonic Lodge and the Retired Teachers Association.