FLYNN, Louise Huerta|
Louise Huerta Flynn, 85 of South Austin leaves behind a legacy of learning, love, and happiness with all those who knew and loved her. Her death last Tuesday morning came after a fight with cancer in the company of those she loved most, her son David Flynn, Jr., granddaughter Demare Flynn, and grandson David Flynn III, all of Austin. In an act of perfect selflessness, Louise Flynn spared her family the sadness of a funeral and instead donated her remains for the benefit of mankind via the University of Texas Health Sciences Center in Houston, Texas.
Louise was born in Elizabeth, NJ in 1929 the second daughter of Jose and Josefa Huerta, both of Spain. She grew up primarily in New Jersey although she spent some time in northern Spain as a child in order to treat a health ailment. Later she attended St. Elizabeth College for two years before transferring to Santo Tomas de Villanueva in Havana, Cuba where she received a B.A.
Havana is also where she met David Flynn, her future husband and center of her universe. It was on their first date that she boldly declared her intention to marry him. He became her husband and center of her universe. After a two year courtship in Cuba, they were married in 1951 in Providence, RI. Louise became her husband's biggest supporter throughout his career which took them to Mexico, Chile, Peru, Argentina, Honduras, Colombia, and Guatemala. Still, Louise found time to teach in private schools, run bridge clubs, and earn a Master's Degree in Ancient History from the Universidad del Valle in Cali, Colombia.
During those years in Latin America, Mrs. Flynn was often left alone to manage raising her son while her husband traveled for work often for months at a time. Headstrong with a no-nonsense gallega attitude, a well-known family tale tells of her standing fast before a home intruder in Tegucigalpa, Honduras who was forced to flee after being shot in the leg by Louise with the pistol kept in her nightstand for just that type of situation.
In her own career path, Louise was a teacher of high school at Colegio Franklin Roosevelt in Lima, Peru; Colegio Simon Bolivar in Cali, Colombia; Colegio Nueva Granada in Bogota, Colombia. She also taught elementary school at St. Francis in Ridgefield Park, NJ and Colegio Abraham Lincoln in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
A downturn in the family fortunes occasioned by changes in Latin American economics forced a move to New York City in the 1970s and led Louise into a new career. She became the family breadwinner through a highly successful career in international insurance at Royal Insurance in New York City. Although Royal was a British company with a traditional outlook on business including gender roles, Louise rose to be the highest ranking woman in the global company and managed global insurance coverage in excess of $1 billion for blue chip companies such as General Motors. During her international insurance career, Louise picked up advanced degrees in the industry including Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter (CPCU), Associate in Risk Management (ARM), and Associate in Insurance Accounting and Finance.
At the same time, Louise helped run the family business, a travel agency, by working weekends managing the company finances and providing sound leadership.
When her eldest sister, Pilar, fell ill with cancer, Louise and David moved into her house in Red Bank, NJ where Louise, still working at her management position in NYC, provided her sister with love and care. Pilar died soon after that, in Louise's arms.
Tragedy followed a few years later when her beloved husband David died suddenly of a heart attack, also in Louise's arms.
Soon after retirement, Louise moved yet again this time to become the CFO of Amistad Media Group, her son David's company in Austin, Texas. Without her guidance, business acumen, and financial management the company would never have achieved success. Her move to Austin in semi-retirement allowed her to be close to her grandchildren on a full time basis and be an important part of their upbringing and moral compass. Abuela, as she was called, taught through the gift of travel and took her granddaughter Demare on a trip to Spain, England, and France when she was 10. Her grandson David, who long dreamed of going to the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto, Ont had that wish granted on a trip with Abuela.
Louise was also instrumental in taking her family to such diverse places as Disney World, South Padre Island, the Galapagos, and Costa Rica.
In Austin, she made lasting friendships with co-workers and neighbors through wine parties, book clubs, and knitting groups. A talented and skilled knitter, Louise made an estimated 75-90 full afghan blankets in her lifetime as well as innumerable baby blankets for Any Baby Can, scarves, golf club covers, and socks. She was a dedicated parishioner at St. Catherine of Sienna church as well as a volunteer at Abiding Love Lutheran Church food bank, translating for immigrant Spanish-speaking families. It was through these friendships that she touched many people and spread her joy, humor, and love.
She is survived by her son David Flynn Jr., granddaughter Demare Flynn, grandson David Flynn III, and an innumerable group of students, friends, and extended family.
Louise loved people, travel, opera, the New York Mets, red wine, telenovelas and Jeopardy!, playing cards, San Antonio Spurs, history, crosswords, Scrabble, her family, and her memories. No one who has ever met her will ever forget her.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Mar. 26 to Mar. 27, 2014