Obituary: Shirley E. Flynn, mother of Rev. Mark W. Flynn, FSRG Chief Chaplain and Ethics Officer

posted 29 Mar 2012, 21:15 by MI Poling   [ updated 29 Mar 2012, 21:21 ]
Shirley Ellen Flynn of South Charleston died March 28 at Hubbard Hospice House in Charleston. Mrs. Flynn was the mother of Freeman-Sheldon Research Group, Inc. Chief Chaplain and Ethics Officer, Rev. Mark W. Flynn.

The daughter of the late George Van Varick and Mabel Johnson Van Varick, Shirley was born September 21, 1932 in Paterson, N.J. As a teenager, she was the conference president of the Methodist Youth Fellowship in the Newark Conference. Before starting college, she worked for a time at her family’s business in Wayne, N.J.  

She first came to W.Va. to attend W.Va. Wesleyan College. There she met and married the Rev. Dr. Donald L. Flynn, who was a professor of Christian Education and the director of the group ministry. Besides being a student and a faculty wife, Shirley was also a house mother. She completed a degree in Sociology at Wesleyan.   

Shirley and Don left West Virginia in the fifties to serve in other conferences and then returned in 1968 when Don came to Morris Harvey College to serve as the director of counseling and testing. They lived in South Charleston with their three sons. During her five years in South Charleston, Shirley was active in First United Methodist Church and in the United Methodist Women’s unit there.  

In 1973, Don was appointed to serve a 12-church charge in Tyler and Doddridge Counties. Shirley was very much a part of the ministry there. She directed many Vacation Bible Schools, including one at Alvy with 80 people in a one-room building. Don and Shirley then served the Webster Springs Charge. Shirley continued to be a big part of his ministry.    

When Don was serving Central Church in Charleston in the early 80’s, Shirley served as a district officer and a conference officer in the United Methodist Women. After Don’s death in 1993, Shirley became part of the conference program staff. In this position she was responsible for missions.  She made regular visits to the annual conference mission projects, she helped to obtain grants from the general church, and she helped to recruit leadership. She also promoted support of missionaries and church and community workers. In the last few years Shirley was an active member of First United Methodist Church in South Charleston.  

Mrs. Flynn is survived by three sons and three daughters-in-law: the Rev. Mark Flynn and Judy of Lewisburg; Paul Flynn and Diane of Geneso, Ill.; and David Flynn and Tonya of South Charleston.    She is also survived by six grandchildren: Rachel Flynn of Lewisburg; Rebecca Flynn of Arlington, Va.; Lydia and Karl Flynn of Geneseo, Ill.; and Kara and Emily Flynn of South Charleston. All of Shirley’s children and grandchildren are United Methodists. Mark is the superintendent of the Greenbrier District.  

Mrs. Flynn was an active member of First United Methodist Church in South Charleston. The Rev. Tom Nolan will lead a worship service praising God for Mrs. Flynn’s life on Monday, April 2, at 11:00 A.M. at First United Methodist Church, 905 Glendale Ave., South Charleston, W.Va. A time of visitation with the Flynn family will be held at the church on Sunday 4:00 to 7:00 P.M. and on Monday from 10:00 to 11:00 A.M. A graveside service will be conducted at the Arbovale Cemetery in Pocahontas County, W.Va., on Tuesday at noon.