George Lewis Flynn Jr.
October 13, 1947 – April 20, 2013
Reporter, editor, raconteur and great friend George Flynn, 65, died April 20 of an apparent heart attack in Houston.
A wry wit who made a living as a journalist, George lived large and well, constantly pulling others into his circle. His more than 40 years in journalism exposed him to myriad horrific crime scenes and slimy political scams, yet he never became the cynic. George retained a compassion and a respect for humanity that set the foundation beneath any joke he stretched out, any pun he smiled through and every story he wrote or told enlisting his voice, hands and twinkling eyes.
He found true love late in life with his wife, Cindy Gabriel. Kindred spirits, they made a sparkling pair who added warmth to every room they entered. George liked good bars and talking late into the night. He enjoyed motorcycles,adventures and the good friends he kept close, who miss him greatly.
George Lewis Flynn, Jr. grew up in Dallas and graduated from the University of North Texas with a journalism degree in 1970. He worked briefly at a Fort Worth tabloid before coming to The Houston Post as a night police reporter in 1971.
It didn't take long for George to become a legend in Houston. A story many tell is of the time he arrived hungry and harried to a veteran's hall murder scene before the homicide detectives and, seeing still-warm french fries next to the body, had a few himself.
He became known for scoops and great sources on the police beat, in the courts and at city hall. His dear friend lawyer Mike Hinton recalls that judges, prosecutors and defense attorneys alike trusted George with their secrets - so much so that one prosecutor recalls George nearly broke open the Brilab scandal that felled politician Bill Clayton in 1980 before the authorities were ready to reveal it. George won his share of awards for his reporting and writing.
More recently, at a bi-annual golf tournament organized by past and present members of the Harris County DA’s office,George proved his trustworthiness by pointing out a scoring error that cost him the championship. George is always a favorite of such events.When George became an editor at The Houston Post he helped keep both his reporters and bosses honest. One of his last acts before heading west to the San Diego Union-Tribune was to ensure publication of an important story that had been spiked by his superiors with a couple of calls to outside reporters.
From 1980 to 1992, George was a reporter, editor and newspaper union activist in San Diego. He returned to Houston in 1993 to the Houston Chronicle, where he worked five years, leaving as a feature writer specializing in investigative articles in 1998.
George then became a managing editor at the Houston Press, where he oversaw a staff and occasionally told great stories himself. He left there in 2005 and mostly free-lanced after that, except for a stint as public relations officer hired by then-Harris County District Attorney Ken Magidson.
This gentleman, master storyteller and affectionate friend to many is survived by his wife, Cindy Gabriel; two brothers, Tom Flynn and wife Joyce of Tulsa; Mike Flynn and wife Carolyn of Dallas; sister, Nancy Bamberger and husband Bill of San Diego; two stepdaughters, Laura and Julia Gabriel of Houston. He also served as cool uncle to Marie and Isaac Flynn, of Tulsa, Amy Dyson of San Diego, Rachel Reinhardt of Huntsville Alabama and Michael Flynn of Boston.He was preceded in death by parents, George, Sr. and Jean Moyer Flynn.
(George's family deeply appreciates the above tribute from friends, Mary Flood, Ronnie Crocker, Burke Watson, Mike Hinton and Nene Foxhall).
Services will be held Monday, April 29 at 2:00 pm at St. Luke's United Methodist Church, 3471 Westheimer in Houston, Texas 77027.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in George's honor to Funders Together to End Homelessness.
Greater Houston Community Foundation 5120 Woodway Drive, Suite 6000 Houston, TX 77056 On the memo line: FTEH Earl Hatcher (George Flynn, Jr. )
- Memorial Service Monday, April 29, 2013
George Lewis Flynn Jr.
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December 27, 2013
George had a cat named Jimmy Carl Black, after the drummer in the Mothers of Invention. He came up with a pinball 'move,' called the 'Death Drop.' He lived in a house in Denton without electricity. He once had an exclusive jail interview with an accused killer and began it this way: 'Why'd you do it, Billy?' From NT to Houston to San Diego, I was on the George Train. What a huge personality. What an immense life.
May 3, 2013
One thing stands out, and that is, he was a fantastic friend. He always told great stories. Everyone knows that. And when he wrote as a reporter, his was always the best writing in the entire paper. But also, he helped his friends. He watched my back more than once. And he was fun. And funny. I remember one time (one time out of many) that we were discussing doing one of our favorite things, which was to go to a corner bar and have a few drinks. This time, I was afraid I couldn't come; I had charge of my seven-year old. George said, no problem, bring her along, we'll make her feel welcome. And besides, as he put it, "We'll all be acting like seven year olds too!"
May 3, 2013
It's hard sorting through all the memories of George and coming up with something eloquent to say about him. His life seemed made up of those funny/poignant stories that we've all been hearing, but of course, it was a lot more than that. I guess I still haven't accepted the idea that he's really crossed over and that I can't give him a call and meet him at the golf course this weekend. Overall, what I'll remember about George is his gregarious spirit, his ability to put even total strangers at ease and his gentle, soft-spoken manner that made you want to hurry up and find another time soon when you could get together again. If there's any solace to be found, it's that Sarah and I -- and all of his friends -- could see that he was happy in his final years, having joined his life with Cindy's and being with someone he truly loved.
May 2, 2013
I've known George since he was the night police reporter and I was the night city editor at The Houston Post in 1971. Distance prevented me for enjoying his friendship as much as the Postie colleagues who remained in Houston, but we kept in touch and saw each other when I would visit him in Houston and in San Diego. He was a really good guy and great journalist just as the obit points out. I'm really sad that we lost him at the age of 65.
April 29, 2013
It was early in the game, Post v Chronk grudge match, Memorial Park, flags all in place even on the offensive line persons. The quarterback's brow furrowed, as it was want to do when he was in deep thought. "You," he said to a wide receiver, go over there (left flats) and you (another WR) go right there kinda in the middle. Then he said to me (yeah; another WR), "Get in the coffin." I knew his code and knew what to do.
The defense lined up, puzzled as usual (there were assistant Chronk city editors in the defensive backfield). Our quarterback BARKED the signal (after he took a puff on his cigarette, of course), dodged two rushers (slow feature writers) and threw a precise 30-yarder which I caught in the COFFIN CORNER of the end zone.
We went on to beat the Houston Chronicle that fateful Memorial day, what was it, 64-16 or something like that?
Actually it wasn't that bad but the memory of quarterback George Flynn leading the charge down field still gives me a buzz. After all, we were in our 20s at the time (well, early 30s) and them were the good old days!!
George had fun, whether on the beat, furrowing his brow over a story, hitting a softball or spiraling the pigskin. What a funlover! What a competitor!
I will never forget you, George! Rest in peace, my friend!!
(FORMER Wide Receiver/Fellow Post Toastie)
James T Campbell
April 29, 2013
Great guy, great journalist, big personality, wonderful storyteller... My one regret is I didn't get to know him better.
James T. Campbell
April 26, 2013
You have many friends here.
April 25, 2013
Cindy and Family,
I am so sorry for your loss. George was a great reporter but more importantly a great person. He will be missed by all.
April 24, 2013
George and i go back all the way to the days at Wesley Methodist Church in Dallas Texas.We have lost a good person and friend. My prayers are with you all.