Thomas Flynn, a former member of the Catholic Courier’s board of directors, died March 20, 2016, at the age of 77.
A Rochester native, Mr. Flynn had cultivated a journalism career that spanned five decades and several publications. He started out in the newsroom of Rochester’s Times-Union afternoon paper in 1957 and worked his way through the newsroom and up the corporate ladder at both the Times-Union, which closed in 1997, and the Democrat and Chronicle. He retired from the latter in 2005 as vice president for communications.
Mr. Flynn served on the Catholic Courier’s board of directors from July 2006 until June 2012
"Tom was a very dedicated member of our board. He went out of his way to forge connections for the Courier with the business community and the broader community," observed Karen M. Franz, editor and general manager of the Courier and El Mensajero Católico newspapers. She added that Mr. Flynn also was a wonderful storyteller and always ready with a witticism or quip.
Mr. Flynn loved stories and the world of journalism, recalled Mark Hare, currently a member of the Courier’s board of directors and a former colleague of Mr. Flynn at the Democrat and Chronicle. Mr. Flynn already had moved up into the newspaper’s administration by the time Hare joined the staff as a reporter in 1984, yet Hare said he was a frequent presence in the newsroom.
"He hung out with reporters because he was, at bottom, more interested in news than in business — but he was good at the business side, to be sure," said Hare, who currently chairs the editorial committee of the Courier board. "He was the guy who would stop by your desk, or call you up to talk about how a reporter found and cultivated sources. He loved journalism. He loved the reporters who could take some tangled, complex governmental gibberish and turn it into two paragraphs that made sense to readers."
Hare described Mr. Flynn as funny, irreverent, smart and grounded in reality, and said he was never too busy to tell a funny story. In fact, Mr. Flynn continued to hang out in the cafeteria at the Democrat and Chronicle to swap stories even after his retirement, Hare recalled.
"The paper wasn’t his job. It was his life. And a fine life it was," observed Hare, who retired from the Democrat and Chronicle in 2012.
Mr. Flynn loved the newspapers he worked for and fiercely defended both the Times-Union and the Democrat and Chronicle whenever they were unfairly criticized, added Mary Holleran, who worked with Mr. Flynn during her more than 20 years in editorial positions in the Democrat and Chronicle’s newsroom. Holleran left the newspaper in December 2008 to become vice president of communications for the Rochester Area Community Foundation and said she was honored when Mr. Flynn promptly recruited her for the Courier’s board of directors.
Mr. Flynn loved his community as much as he loved newspapers and was involved in a variety of community and charitable activities, noted Holleran, a former editorial-committee chair who completed two terms on the Courier board last year.
"The Catholic Courier board was one he cherished," she said. "I believe it was close to his heart because of his love of journalism and his faith."
Mr. Flynn is survived by his wife, Beta (Trox) Flynn; daughters, Ellen Flynn and Elizabeth Flynn (Louis) Ansuini; sister, Kathleen (William) Cannan; brothers, John V. (Jeanne) Flynn, James (Judee) Flynn and William (Maria) Flynn; sisters-in-law, Suzanne (Richard) Lavelle and Bernadette (Richard) Trox; brother-in-law, Robert (Susan) Trox; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Mr. Flynn’s funeral Mass was celebrated March 23, 2016, at Church of the Assumption in Fairport.