Dr. Michael Anthony Flynn, Jr., beloved husband, loving father of 8 children, and cherished brother and friend, died Monday, August 17, 2020 in Akron, OH.
Mike was born on April 17, 1937 to parents Michael and Mary Irene Flynn. As a young man, he worked in the family business of Summit Laundry, slinging pounds of wet laundry in the plant in downtown Akron, workouts that he credited for his athletic conditioning and success as a left guard for the St. Vincent High School Fighting Irish. He loved the game of football and was proud to have been inducted into St. V’s Athletic Hall of Fame. A Captain of the football team like his father, Mike Sr., before him, he was elected to crown the Homecoming Queen, Antoinette (Toni ) Benko, and thus began their love story and marriage of 62 years.
Mike went on to attend the University of Detroit on a football scholarship after which he attended the St. Louis University School of Medicine. He completed his internship at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit and his residency at Akron City Hospital. He then served his country at Redstone Arsenal in Alabama as Chief of Surgery and a Captain in the United States Army. At the end of his duty, the family moved back to Akron where Mike practiced medicine as a general surgeon at Akron City Hospital for over 30 years. He was passionate about improving the practice of medicine and served in many leadership roles including Governor of the American College of Surgeons. As a Director of Trauma Services for Summa for 22 years, he was responsible for certifying the Summa Trauma Center as the first Level1 Trauma Center in Akron.
Mike was a consummate surgeon – skilled and compassionate – a doctor who genuinely cared about each patient. His reputation as a tough perfectionist in the operating room was well-known and highly regarded. His high expectations for himself set an example for his residents and reflected his commitment to the practice of medicine as not just a profession but a calling.
A fiercely loving father, Mike was always accessible to listen, provide advice, or lend a hand, immensely proud of his 3 sons and 5 daughters, 19 grandchildren, and 3 great grandchildren. He always greeted every one of his family with a hug and never said a good-bye without including an “I love you.” He made each of us feel important and loved. An avid reader, Mike was also known for his daily read of the Wall Street Journal from front to back - highlighting the paragraphs of greatest import with a yellow highlighter for further discussion with those around him. He liked to engage family members in politics and current events and often texted or emailed these highlighted articles – hoping, but not always succeeding, to persuade the recipient to align with his own viewpoint. He wasn’t shy about expressing his frank opinion but he most always did it thoughtfully with insight and empathy. Spiritual and committed to his Catholic faith, Mike attended Mass faithfully his entire life and was a source of inspiration to the family when he opened Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other significant gatherings with his wise counsel and sincere prayers. He was also an avid golfer, but disappointed to never have had a hole in one. Many summers were spent sailing on Lake Huron and Lake Erie. Mike was a constant / never satisfied Italian restaurant critic who loved vanilla ice cream with Hershey chocolate sauce. He thought Toni was the best cook in the world and her food better than any restaurant’s.
He was also an inventor, innovator, and artist who saw opportunities for beauty and better function all around him – including in a new surgical tool he designed and patented, and in everyday objects like artful cabinet door pulls he crafted by melting brass knobs. MacGyver-like repairs were the order of the day bolstered by an inordinate fondness of duct tape. He owned his own pottery wheel and kiln and created both traditional and avant garde ceramic works of art. No family member left a visit without a new pin, vase, or sculpture.
Mike was the center of the Flynn Family Universe, a constant source of love and support, the creator of laughter, fun, and occasional mischief. He was a rule-breaker when it made sense, a shoulder to lean on, and a wise philosopher and poet who viewed life through the lens of intellect, compassion, integrity, and often outrageous wit. His Irish warmth and charm endeared him to many, many friends in addition to his family.
Mike was preceded in death by his parents, and sister, Rosemary Bowden. He is survived by his wife, Toni; daughters, Liz (Webb) Vorys, Maureen Wood, Ellen (Mike) Icenogle, Susan (Greg) Betchkal, Julieann Flynn (Rich Sparhawk); sons, Michael (Diane), John (Alma), and Thomas (Dawn Marie); 19 grandchildren; 3 great-grandchildren; sisters, Mary Ann Flynn-Fouse and Jeannie Sattler; and brother, James (Lynn).
Mass of Christian Burial to be held at St. Hilary Catholic Church on Monday, August 24 at 12:00 p.m. It will be streamed live from the St. Hilary Facebook Page. Calling hours at the church at 11:00 a.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St V-M High School ℅ Jim Kelly Scholarship Fund, 15 North Maple St. 44303.
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