Larry Paul Flynn, of Golconda, IL, born at Lightner Hospital in Harrisburg, IL, December 15, 1935, and left this earth after a tough fight to meet his Heavenly Father on Saturday, January 9, 2021, with his family at his side.
Dad was the sixth of seven children, born to Clyde L. Flynn Sr., and Charlotte M. (Simmons) Flynn.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Clyde L. Flynn Jr.; sister, Lena Mae (Flynn) King; brother, George William Flynn; brother, Charles Leo Flynn; and a daughter, Sandra Lynn (Flynn) Culp.
Dad was active in the community and in many organizations. He served as president and member on the Pope County School Board. He was a rotary club member, past VFW Commander, past American Legion Commander, Master Mason and member of the Pope/Hardin County Sportsman’s Club
Dad grew up on a small farm outside Elizabethtown, and later moved in to town with his Mom and Dad. Other than a short time living in Springfield, IL, with his parents, Canton, IL, while working on the river and various military posts while on active duty, and Brookport, IL, when he started a family, he spent his life in Hardin and Pope counties.
Growing up on the farm outside of Elizabethtown started his lifelong love of riding horses. He surprised his parents when he became a horse trader at a young age and brought home a pony from a neighbor. Dad owned and rode horses with his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many friends, as he never met a stranger. You could always find this gentleman cowboy with his hat and boots on, ready for adventure. Whether taking his grandchildren to camp and ride at the 9 Day, greeting them with “hey pard”, or going on a camping trip with friends, he always had a great time. He has said his favorite trip was when he rode his horse out West with his friends. He said “I felt like a real cowboy riding out there and looking up at Mount Rushmore”. He had several trips with his riding buddies Steve, Stan, George, and many others and his love of horses and riding stayed with him.
While in middle school, the family moved into Elizabethtown and Dad started delivering papers with his brother Leo. They had many adventures delivering these papers, starting their paper delivery career on foot and ending it with delivering them on a motorcycle. Dad often said he would sit backwards on the motorcycle behind his brother Leo and throw the papers as they drove through town. Can you just imagine? Dad graduated from Rosiclare High School in 1953 and remained close to his classmates. He missed very few class reunions and enjoyed attending, “catching up” and telling stories with lifelong friends. Dad attended SIU Carbondale, but the river called him and he went to work on the riverboats, traveling up and down the Illinois River.
While having time off from working on the river, Dad rode his Harley Davidson motorcycle with his close friends Butch and Ox. It’s a wonder no one was ever hurt as they always seemed to get into some mischief. Dad was also known to get on his bike and ride to Springfield to mow his sisters lawn and then turn around and ride home. He has said he rode the wheels off his motorcycle.
In 1959, the U.S. Army came knocking and Dad entered service with basic at Fort Leonard Wood. He attended infantry school at Fort Riley and jump school at Fort Benning. Dad was stationed at Fort Bragg with the 1/503rd PIR, 82nd Airborne Division. After two years on active duty, Dad was honorably discharged as a Staff Sergeant…a wonder after hearing some of the stories he told. In 1961, during the Berlin Crisis, Dad was recalled to active duty to Fort Lewis with the 32nd Infantry Division. Dad said that the Army cut his orders so that he would report outside of 90 days to Fort Lewis and that would cost him a stripe. After a raucous trip across the US via train, Dad reported just in time to keep his hard earned stripes. He always said he wanted to make a career out of the Army, but after losing a brother who was a Marine in the Korean War, his Mom convinced him to pursue a safer career, towboating?!? He returned to towboating until he began the next chapter of life.
Dad eventually settled down in Brookport, IL working at the Lock and Dam 52 and started his family. This lasted a short time and he relocated to Golconda, IL to work at the Lock and Dam 51. He worked there until he left the Corps of Engineers to open his own business. Having worked on the river, he was remembered by many towboaters, as he crossed the bar. He always said “if towboats were a dime a dozen, all I could do is run up and down the river saying ain’t that cheap”. Dad always had a sense of humor, a story to tell, and was never short on jokes. Dad always seemed to have more fun telling the joke than how funny the joke actually was. He would say, “now tell me if I’ve already told you this”. He was quite the storyteller and his family loved to hear him tell one. There was, on more than one occasion, times you had to decide if the story he was telling was true, partially true, or a white lie as he had fun teasing the listener. I would always receive these jokes typed and in an envelope as Dad refused to learn how to use the computer. He finally did figure out how to use an iPhone though and loved to FaceTime his family. This FaceTime phone call became a daily ritual for some of the grandchildren and he always looked forward to his calls. Each call always ended with “I love you, too”.
Larry and Brenda, mother of Lesia, Mollie and Chuck, started their own insurance and real estate business and Larry continued to work in insurance until the age of 81. Toward the end of his career in insurance, he really only showed up at the office to keep up on the town gossip, visit with his grandkids when they got off the bus, or push his great-granddaughter up the street to check the mail. He always said he enjoyed working with his daughter all those years as they had a very close relationship not everyone is fortunate enough to have.
After retiring, Dad could always be found in his yard working. He kept his yard neatly mowed and enjoyed planting flowers, berries, grape vines, and having a huge garden. He shared his garden vegetables with family and friends and enjoyed taking his sister, Mary, some, too. He enjoyed drop by visitors and having family out to fish in his pond. The grandchildren would always catch a fish and he enjoyed watching their excitement. He also fed these fish with the grandchildren so they were monsters waiting to be caught. He always had time to visit.
Each one of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren were lucky enough to spend time with their Grandpa, or Papa and have special memories in their hearts. For some it was trail riding at the 9 Day and line dancing into the evening, one granddaughter was lectured on their choice of purchasing “a brand new jacked up truck” with gas being $5/gal. She later traded that truck off. Grandpa was right. Wednesday morning visits at the shop were always a highlight of the week. One granddaughter always wanted to know what he had planted in his garden and then walking to the garden to see it. If you were fortunate enough to pull up to his house on a sunny day you might catch him in his bib overalls and headphones dancing in the yard.
Dad was loved and will be missed by his family.
He is survived by his sisters, Mary Lou Hicks and Anna Jane Flynn; three children, Lesia Lorane Burns (John), Mollie Sue Donley (Ellis), and Charles Larry Paul Flynn (Lyca); grandchildren, Jesse, Lacy, Jamie, Quentin, Kendra, Kaylea, Kelsie, Charlotte, and Liam; and great-grandchildren Jessa, Maggie, Charlie Buck, Piper, Karley, Lucas, Jameson, Cooper, Ellie, and Leo.
Services for visitation will be held Wednesday, January 13th from 4-7 p.m. at Aly Funeral Home Eddyville, IL. Funeral mass will be Thursday, January 14th at 10 a.m. at the St. Joseph Catholic Church, Elizabethtown, IL. Burial will be in Empire Cemetery, Elizabethtown, IL.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the VFW or American Legion, The Golconda Public Library, or MASH.
He may be in heaven but he’s left us with many good memories.
–Written by his daughter, Mollie.