James J. Flynn
1929 - 2020
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James J. Flynn

Urbandale - James Joseph Flynn, 91, of Urbandale, died peacefully at home on June 23, 2020 surrounded by his family.

James was born in Remsen, Iowa on May 9, 1929 to John T. and Cecilia M. (Ahmann) Flynn. He graduated from Trinity Heights High School in Sioux City, Iowa.

After graduating from high school, James served for two years in the Korean Conflict where he was responsible for radio tower communications. After his military service concluded he attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa where he studied accounting.

James was a long-time entrepreneur and business owner.

He started his career selling shoes in Sioux City Iowa where he managed Francis Shoes. The company expanded to Des Moines Iowa where he relocated and managed the Des Moines location before opting to go into business for himself and subsequently establishing Flynn Shoes. Known as "The Shoe Man," he owned and operated three stores in the Des Moines area as well as satellite locations throughout the state. Having survived polio as a small child, his downtown flagship store was of particular importance to James as many of his customers required specialized shoes. He worked closely with area podiatrists and physicians to ensure his customers were able to obtain the appropriate footwear. This included visits to area hospitals and rehabilitative centers to assist customers and he also donated shoes to patients of Broadlawns who were otherwise unable to afford shoes.

After more than 35 years in the shoe business, James then spent more than 10 years in the siding and sunroom business during which time he purchased the Iowa franchise for ABC Seamless Steel Siding. He was twice named National Dealer of the Year and was the recipient of multiple trips and other recognition.

James also enjoyed owning commercial real estate and was a landlord to numerous other business owners over the years.

During his retirement years he enjoyed traveling with his wife, spending time with his children and grandchildren and playing golf at Urbandale Golf and Country Club where he was a longtime member. He enjoyed playing cards with his buddies as well as participating in poker tournaments. He was a highly ranked poker player winning several tournaments including Bellagio's No Limit Hold'Em.

James is survived by his loving wife Kathy Flynn, of Urbandale, his daughters Patricia (David) Hollingsworth of Columbus, Ohio, Debora Linquist of Waukee, Iowa, Pamela (Tony) Raila of Pasadena, Maryland, Andrea (Dave) Floden of Waukee, Iowa, eight grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

He is also survived by his brother Tom (Tammy) Flynn of Spirit Lake, Iowa as well as countless nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, James was preceded in death by his former spouse, Elsie Flynn and their son James Flynn Jr., and eight siblings.

A visitation will be held on Monday, June 29th from 2 - 4pm and 6 - 8 pm at Merle Hay Funeral Home Chapel. The funeral ceremony will be private and James will be laid to rest at the Iowa Veteran Cemetery with Military Honors.

During the visitation social distancing will be followed and at the family's request masks will be required. You must bring your own mask.

A celebration of life service will be held at a future date. Memorials may be directed to The Food Bank of Iowa, Salvation Army or Hope Ministries.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in the Des Moines Register from Jun. 25 to Jun. 28, 2020.
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June 29, 2020
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