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Obituary for Brian C. Flynn

Brian C.  Flynn
Brian C. Flynn, a prominent attorney and pillar of both the Hammondsport, NY and Naples, FL communities, died on Sunday, October 28, 2018. He was 83 years old.

Brian was born on November 14, 1934. He was the only child of Gertrude Carmody Flynn and Attorney Thomas Joseph Flynn, both first generation children of Irish immigrants from Roscommon, County Galway.

Brian learned the value of education from his parents. His mother was a graduate of Elmira College and founded two bookstores. His brilliant father was a graduate of Boston College, Harvard Business School, and Cornell Law School (full scholarship). His father was a prominent lawyer and later a judge as well as the President of the City of Elmira’s Board of Education. He was an Exalted Ruler of the Elmira Lodge of Elks among other charities and associations. Erudite, well mannered, gambler, crackerjack NY Times crossword puzzle doer, avid reader, the brightest of 6 children, but (according to his siblings) ‘the black sheep’ who literally got a lump of coal for Christmas one year as a child. Defending his honor, he started a fistfight at Moretti’s Restaurant at 75 when someone called him a liar. Unlike Brian, his father was an active member of the Democrat Party where he ran for Mayor of Elmira in that ruby red city.

After graduating from Elmira Free Academy (1952), Brian attended The College of the Holy Cross on a ROTC Scholarship. Following graduation in 1956, in defiance of his father’s wishes, he proudly served as a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Marines. He found serving our country as a Marine among the highlights of his life.

As a Marine, he served as coach of a Marine Corps intramural football team which nearly landed him in the brig when he decked a superior officer who cheap shotted one of Brian’s players. Then, he attended Georgetown Law School while he worked part time for the then Central Intelligence Agency Chief.

After passing the NY State Bar in 1961, he served as a defense attorney and judge before becoming a First Assistant District Attorney in Bath, NY. He returned to private practice in 1970 when he moved to the family home of the late Greyton Taylor, the founder of Taylor Wine Company in Hammondsport.

Brian helped train many newly minted lawyers, including Karl V. Anderson, Jr. who Brian promoted to partner in 1972 and regarded Brian as a brother even after Karl ventured out on his own in 1979. Others who greatly benefitted from Brian’s tutelage included Peter Baker and Jan Egger.

Brian developed an expertise in village and town law. His legal passion was to help ensure the various villages and towns responsibly operated and grew in ways that would preserve and enhance the pristine environment around them.

This meant fighting, and winning, a case representing the Village of Savona that went all the way up to NY State’s Court of Appeals among other legendary battles against mighty foes. Though Brian was admitted to the U.S. Supreme Court to practice, his adversaries were unsuccessful in appealing cases Brian won to that court.

Brian’s collection of government entity clients included: Hammondsport, Savona, Urbana, Hammondsport Fire District, Prattsburgh, Pulteney, Steuben County Industrial Development Agency, Cameron, and Watkins Glen. At Brian’s retirement in 2009, he beamed with pride that Keuka Lake was still one of the only Class 1 lakes where you could drink the water without filtration in NY State.

Among his private clients, he successfully defended his former wife (Joan) from minor traffic infractions and several of his son’s high school friends. Brian was able to arrange (at his curious son’s request) for his son to be incarcerated in the County Jail for several hours. He also was able to use his legal skills to retrieve a ball his son accidentally kicked into “Old Man Carl’s” yard during a street kickball game. His mediation skills between his quarreling children were legendary.

Brian’s prodigious work habits still left time for many civic contributions. He was a life member of both the American Bar Association and the Bath Lodge of Elks, a member of the Jaycees and the Hammondsport Loyal Order of the Moose, President of St. Mary’s Board of Education, Director of the Southern Tier Heart Association, Steuben County Chairman of the Heart Fund Drive, Steuben Country Drug Abuse Council, Project Hope Director, Charter Member and Legal Counsel to The Crooked Lake Historical Society, Member of the Glenn H. Curtiss Museum (which his wife Jill was the President of), member of St. Gabriel’s Church and a Paralegal Program Advisor at Corning Community College. Finally, Brian was a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus Father Guilfoil Assembly life member.

Unlike his Democrat father, Brian instantly became a Republican after a speech by the Democratic leader, Adlai Stevenson II, who disparaged the U.S. Marines by calling them “prima donnas.” After his conversion and first debate with his father which led to a different kind of Cold War, he became a delegate to the National Young Republican Training School in Washington, D.C. and was a Republican Delegate to the Seventh Judicial District Convention for many years. Brian participated in many campaigns for Republicans and encouraged his son’s passion for Republican politics who later became President of his college’s Young Republican Club and worked for George Bush.

Brian was an avid if infrequent golfer as a member of both the Corning Country Club and Bath Country Club where his son would often serve as his underpaid but well rewarded caddy in tournaments. Brian learned the sport in part from his mother who was the Elmira Country Club Woman’s Champion. Likewise, he was instrumental in teaching his son who went on to win the junior club championship. Brian’s penultimate golfing achievement was getting a birdie on the 18th hole at St. Andrews Old Course in Scotland which his son bogeyed.

His tennis skills were sufficiently robust to help instruct both his daughter and son who went on to become the county champion and high school captain. He preferred to play at high noon at the hottest part of the day to remind him of the summer weather he experienced during his days as a Marine in the south.

Brian also imparted his love of big band music on his son who went on to play Jazz trumpet through college as Brian did and also on his daughter who went on to major in voice in college and sang with a jazz band. Though he never competed on Name that Tune, no one doubted he would have been a formidable competitor given that he never lost a round against his family.

Brian loved the many dogs he owned from childhood. People would often stop him and his dog on the street and stop by his law office simply to say hello to the dog or take the dog for a walk.

He mastered the outdoor BBQ grill where he grilled many items, especially hot dogs which were drowned by him with mustard. The steaks he grilled often wound up partially consumed by Brian and his son during necessary “road testing” before they wound up being shared with all.

Given that his public government clients were up to an hour apart from each other, Brian chose his cars carefully. He loved driving Cadillacs which he would wash and wax regularly with the help of both his kids.

Brian remained close to his Elmira Free Academy friends despite the fact that they lived all over the country. Those friends included Dr. John and Sally Billen, Atty. John Murray, Leon Horowitz, Michael Gaffey, Atty. Paul Babitz, Dr. Harris Kenner, Robert Colucci (deceased) and John Beecher (deceased). They often razzed one another—as friends often do and made it a point to meet once a year.

Brian married his first wife, Joan Lofgren, in 1960. Together, they had a son (Brian Jr.) in 1961 and a daughter (Maureen Marie) 10 ½ months later in 1962. Brian later married Jill Record in 1984. Jill and Brian worked together over 37 years until their retirement in 2009. They made their way south to Naples, FL to enjoy the heat and sunshine and be near their friends, the Billens.

Brian is survived by his devoted, beautiful and highly organized wife Jill, his son Brian Jr. (and his wife Laurie who live in Seattle Washington), his daughter Maureen McElroy (Savannah Georgia), and Brian Jr.’s children (Sophia Marguerite Flynn, Brian Charles Flynn III, and Vivianne Marguerite Flynn) and Maureen’s daughter (Rachel Marie McElroy of Alexandria Virginia). Brian remained in touch with his many Irish relatives as well as his former wife Joan Ford Lofgren and her sister, Anne Ford Seely, and her brother, Michael Sven Lofgren, his former brother in law along with his five children (Michael, Matthew, Dana, Jonathan and Stephanie). He is also survived by Jill’s sister, Judith Stiles and her three children. Brian’s extended family include scores of grand nephews, grand nieces, and cousins who mostly live in California. He was pre-deceased by his parents, his mother and father-in-law, Marietta and Richard Record, his sister in law, Joylinn Record Show, and his brother-in-law, Duane Stiles.

In sum, Brian faithfully served his God throughout his nearly 84 years of life as a Catholic, his country as a U.S. Marine and First Assistant District Attorney, and his community. His intellect and energy made a tangible difference in the lives of countless people and on the environment, his lifelong friends, his two children who he inspired as children and adults…as well as their children, and his adoring wife, Jill, who he is doing his best to comfort from heaven. God bless you, Brian Charles Flynn. You will be sorely missed. May you rest eternally in peace while watching over us from heaven…and arguing for a lesser sentence from St. Peter for those you love when they too meet St. Peter.

The funeral is to be held at St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church in Naples on November 9, 2018 at 10:00 am. His internment at Woodlawn National Cemetery with full military honors will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church at or mail it to St. Peter the Apostle Catholic Church, 5130 Rattlesnake Hammock Road, Naples, FL 34113. Brian’s family would deeply appreciate it if you wrote a quick note on his memorial webpage on this site.
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