GULF BREEZE, Fla. (WKRG) — On Sunday, Dec. 4, the Gulf Breeze Zoo’s founder passed away.

The zoo said in a statement on Facebook that Walter “Pat” Quinn was a true man of the people.

“Pat loved our community and its people,” The post said. “He continued to be a stalwart supporter of the zoo even after retirement. We could not have found a better person to market his love of the zoo to the community than Pat. There is not a day that goes by when walking the zoo that I don’t think of him and what he built and accomplished. Words cannot convey our true sense of loss.”

For Eric Mogensen, CEO of Gulf Breeze Zoo, Quinn was a dear friend and mentor for four decades.

“Just an all-around great man has left this earth,” Mogensen said. “However, he goes knowing that he leaves behind a true legacy of building his zoo, our continued commitment to wildlife conservation in his honor, and bringing enjoyment to thousands of visitors annually. A man like Pat can never be replaced and will surely never be forgotten. He can be very proud of that.”