John “Mike” McDonnell Flynn, 89, former High Sheriff of Worcester County, passed away peacefully in his sleep early January 8th, 2016.
He is predeceased by his wife, Joan Marie (Whealan) Flynn whom he married February 23, 1957 in New Jersey.
Mr. Flynn was born in Fitchburg, October 12, 1926, son of John J. Flynn and Celia McDonnell Flynn.
Mr. Flynn is survived by his children; John McDonnell Flynn II of Sterling, Marianne (Flynn) and her husband Joseph Blanchet of Charlton, Kathleen “Kelly” Flynn and her husband David Richards Jr., of Charlton, Kevin Joseph Flynn and his wife Kathy Flynn of Leicester, Joan Marie (Flynn) and her husband Stephen Ceely of Leicester, and Michael James Flynn and his wife Sasha Flynn, MD of Northborough; Grandchildren, Dr. Kristin Blanchet and fiancé JaModi Robinson, Michael Blanchet and wife Valaphorn Blanchet, Brittany Flynn, Malachi, Mason, and Matthew Ceely, John M. Flynn III, Shannon Flynn-Richards, Jacob and Sophia Flynn, Jesse Ceely, Alicia (Ceely) Ratliff, Deborah, Eric, Jesse, and David Richards, Anna and Robert McInnis; Great-grandson, Cole Joseph Robinson.
He is also predeceased by his brother, James E. Flynn and sister, Maureen Flynn May.
He graduated St. Bernard’s High School, Fitchburg, MA in 1943 where he was the captain of the football team. Attended Cushing Academy in 1944 where he was captain of the football team.
He was a World War II Veteran who served in the 7th Infantry Division in the Pacific in 1945 where he was promoted to 1st Sgt. at the age of 18 while serving in Okinowa. He also served in Korea. In 1965, he retired from the Massachusetts National Guard as a major in the 181st Infantry Division.
He served on the Fitchburg Police Department for 10 years, during which time he was promoted to detective. In 1963, he became Deputy Master of the Worcester County Jail and House of Correction. In 1986, he was elected High Sheriff of Worcester County, a position which he held for 3 terms over the next 18 years.
In the year 2000, he was elected to the Electoral College. He was also Chairman of the West Boylston Democratic Committee for 15 years.
He was the Chief Marshal of the Fitchburg 4th of July parade circa 1957. He won the Emerald Club Shillelagh Award in 1996 and was Grand Marshal of the Worcester St. Patrick’s Day Parade in 1997. He was a member of the Irish American Association in Fitchburg, the Ancient Order of Hibernians in Worcester, and the Emerald Club of Worcester.
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council #99 in Fitchburg, where he was a 4th degree knight, Bishop Beaven Assembly #396, the Lions Club of West Boylston, the Eastwood Club in Fitchburg, the 200 Sportsmen Club in Webster, and a lifetime member of the Polish American Citizens Club in Webster. He was also on the Montachusett Alcoholism Council, Leominster, a member of the Ellis Island Foundation, and a member of Friends of Coggshall Park in Fitchburg, and co-chairman of the Korean and Vietnam War Memorial in Fitchburg.
He received the Outstanding Community Service Award from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Worcester in May 2000. He also recorded books in tape for the blind in Worcester County.
He was past-president of the Massachusetts Sheriff’s Association, a member of the National Sheriff’s Association, and the American Jail Association. He was a member of the Worcester County Chiefs of Police Association, Central Mass Police Association, Southern Mass Police Association, and Eastern Mass Police Association.
He was a member of St. Joseph’s Church in Charlton.
We would like to thank our father, who was so dedicated to his family, friends, and community. Dad was the patriarch of our family and was happily involved in his children and grandchildren’s lives until the day he died. Dad’s compassion for his fellow man was legend. He treated everyone with dignity and respect. Despite his busy political life, he was a rock for his friends and family and would drop everything to help someone who needed him. He lit up a room with his presence and he will be deeply missed everyday of our lives.
Visiting Hours will be held on Tuesday, January 12th from 3:00 pm until 7:00 pm at CALLAHAN- FAY AND CASWELL FUNERAL HOME, 61 Myrtle St., Worcester. A Funeral Mass will be celebrated on Wednesday, January 13th at 10:00 am at St. Joseph’s Church, 10H Putnam Rd., Ext., Charlton. Burial with Military Honors will follow at Westridge Cemetery, Charlton. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Mercy Center, 25 W. Chester St., Worcester, MA 01606