GEORGE A. FLYNN Ph.D.

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Obituary

George A. Flynn, PhD., who passed away on Friday, November 4, 2016, at age 79, in Round Rock, TX, was first and foremost a newspaperman. He began as a copy boy at the Miami Herald in the 1950s, and was filing stories at The Williamson County (TX) Sun a decade after he retired from teaching college journalism. He was always a stickler for accuracy, "You say your mother loves you? Check it out," he told the colleagues he mentored and the university students he inspired. Flynn was born on August 7, 1937, in Quantico, VA, to Harold Leo and Frances Willard Robinson Flynn. His father was a career Marine. As a baby faced copy boy at the Miami Herald, he was known for his ability to change typewriter ribbons, fetch coffee, run the elevator in a pinch and pull off successful pranks. He had friends who wrote great editorials and won Pulitzer Prizes, but it was Flynn who received a standing ovation after a blown fuse had stymied everyone else just before deadline. Working full time at the Herald, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Miami in 1961, and was commissioned as an ensign in the United States Navy where he served a reserve tour in the Mediterranean and Caribbean and participated in the Cuban Blockade aboard the USS Saratoga aircraft carrier. He returned to The Herald after military service, spending the next 17 years as Key West bureau chief, general assignment reporter, Action Line editor, Fort Lauderdale bureau city editor and county government reporter. When Flynn was assigned to showing new reporter, Arnold Markowitz, around the newsroom in 1967, a lifelong friendship began. "George was not a boastful man. If pressed, he would rate himself as a first rate paragrapher' meaning he had a special talent for distilling the essence of a story into the space of a single graf. I remember him best as a consistently kind, thoughtful generous person and devoted to excellence on the job." He left that job in 1973, to earn a Master's degree in political science at Florida Atlantic University, the first step to becoming a journalism professor. He taught two years at Texas A&M, "the best school in America" according to him, before completing his doctorate at North Texas State University. He taught five years at Arizona State University, and 16 years at California State University, Fresno, where he retired as professor emeritus. In Fresno, he and his wife Carol held annual Thanksgiving dinners for international students and entertained students at pizza, spaghetti and taco dinners. The Flynns turned their Volkswagen camper into a food truck to make hamburgers for the college newspaper staff and one year hosted a graduation party for his favorite international student. Flynn was famous for his insatiable curiosity, his inexhaustible humor and his uncanny ways with frustrating mechanical devices like old typewriters, telephones, clocks and fans. His home was a mini museum of gizmos that turn, pull, twist, shove, push or tick. Most of his buys were at flea markets or yard sales. Flynn insisted all his treasures be in pathetic but salvageable shape. The fun was in making them look and run like new. He was also passionate about his Triumph Bonneville motorcycle which he always called a gentleman's bike. He and his wife loved to take short hops for coffee and long trips to Canada and across the United States. The Flynns moved to Texas after they retired, first to Corpus Christi and then to Sun City in Georgetown where he found what he said was the best job a gregarious, curious guy like himself could ever have. He could walk up to anyone and ask what was going on. If he found it interesting, he'd snap a photo and, bingo, the Williamson County Sun had a human interest story. He continued being the enquiring reporter until his health no longer allowed. Flynn also taught classes at Senior University Georgetown relating to newspapers and the media and participated in summer lectures series. His parents; his brother Harold; four sisters, Genevieve, Helena, Nora and Margaret; and his step-daughter, Michelle Kerbs, preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife, Carol J. Flynn of Georgetown; as well as his daughter, Margery Flynn Miller; grandson, Paul Miller, both of West Palm Beach, FL; and his step-children, Karen Metzger of Gardena, CA, and Steven Humphrey of Jerome, ID. There are no services planned at this time. Donations in his name may be made to a . Messages or memories may be shared in the memorial guest book at www.ramseyfuneral.com
Published in the Fresno Bee on Nov. 13, 2016
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