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. )