Mary V. Flynn's life to be celebrated Sunday in Stockbridge


A public celebration of life for Mary V. Flynn, the town matriarch and widely admired symbol of the community made famous by Norman Rockwell, is planned for this Sunday afternoon.

Funeral services for the retired teacher and longtime local political leader will be held Friday morning at 10 in St. Joseph's Church, 10 Elm St., followed by burial in the family plot at the church's cemetery.

A reception for friends is planned on the west porch of the Red Lion Inn following burial.

Calling hours will be on Thursday afternoon from 4 to 7 at Kelly Funeral Home, 3 Main St., in Lee, which is in charge of arrangements.

Flynn, who was fond of inviting friends and acquaintances to her home for conversation, tea, cookies, will be remembered at a public gathering on the town green adjacent to the former Stockbridge Town Hall on West Main Street. The event is from 3 to 5 on Sunday afternoon and will include tea and cookies.

Thomas H. Stokes, a longtime friend and former colleague on the Select Board, was involved in the plans, as was Flynn's cousin, Joanne Provost of Stockbridge, her closest living relative. Stokes will deliver the eulogy at the funeral.

Asked whether any dignitaries and political leaders are likely to attend, Provost said she expected a large turnout of county Democrats, since Flynn was "very instrumental in their careers. Of course, Mary would have liked it if Bill Clinton attended."

"Neither the funeral nor calling hours offer her many friends and associates the opportunity to share reminiscences and anecdotes," said Stokes. "The Sunday event will be a chance to record what Mary's friends have to say." He is making arrangements for Community Television of the Southern Berkshires (CTSB) to videotape the gathering for later telecasts to Time Warner cable viewers.

Maureen O'Flynn, the well-known opera soprano and cabaret performer, is returning from Mexico to attend the funeral and the public gathering, said Stokes. She is expected to sing at both. O'Flynn is a longtime Stockbridge resident who teaches in Mexico during the summer.

Flynn, 93, who died last Friday morning, was recognized and beloved for her contributions to education and philanthropy.

She taught history for many years at Wahconah Regional High School in Dalton, retiring in 1979 after 36 years of service in the Central Berkshire Regional School District. Flynn also taught in Mill River, a village in New Marlborough, and in West Stockbridge.

A lifelong resident of Stockbridge in the family home on Shamrock Street, Flynn graduated from the former Williams High School in the town and from North Adams State College, now MCLA. Her graduate work was at Williams College and Yale University.

She was a longtime activist in Democratic politics and was heavily involved in local nonprofits, including Chesterwood, the Norman Rockwell Museum and the Laurel Hill Society.


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