Hillsdale morns the loss of a broadcasting legend

by Scott Pienta

Nov. 15, 1926 – Jan. 21, 2019

Broadcast legend, Anthony F. “Tony” Flynn, 92, of Hillsdale, went to be with his Savior on January 21, 2019. Tony was born November 15, 1926 in Escanaba, Michigan to William and Loretta Flynn. On July 17, 1947, he married Marian M. Menard and they had five children: Mike (Denise) Flynn of Hillsdale, Pat (Mary) Flynn of Hillsdale, Dan (Dr. Ann Henelt) Flynn of Allegan, Michigan, Tony (Erica) Flynn of Montpelier, Ohio and James “Kelly” (Susan) Flynn of Hillsdale. He was a loving grandfather to eight grandchildren and eleven great-grandchildren.

Tony’s broadcasting career spanned decades. His first break in broadcasting came as an announcing job with WDBC, Escanaba. He continued work at WDBC through high school and the summer following graduation. He entered Marquette University, Milwaukee to study History, English and Speech from 1945-1946. While attending Marquette, he worked the night shift at WEMP as an announcer.

Leaving Milwaukee to enter the service, Flynn served a brief stint in the U.S. Air Force. Upon discharge in 1947, he returned to Escanaba to be married and to return to his “alma mater” WDBC, handling everything from news and sports announcing, commercials, selling, writing programs, and a “bit of engineering”.

In 1951, Flynn moved to WJPG, Green Bay, Wisconsin to fill the chair vacated by Earl Gillespie when he went to Milwaukee. For six years, he broadcast the Green Bay Packer games on the state network. Coupled with this duty, Flynn also did Wisconsin State League Baseball for three seasons including all play-by-play and spring training interviews from the teams Florida training base. While with WJPG, he also did news and sportscasts plus commercial announcing throughout his six years stay with the station.

Flynn’s first experience in television consisted of live commercials for a Milwaukee brewery on WBAY-TV in Green Bay.

Leaving Green Bay in July 1957, he came to Milwaukee to handle a series of five-minute news and sportscasts aired coast-to-coast seventeen times per week of the American Broadcasting Network. Flynn also did the complete coverage of the Miller Open Golf tourney heard nationally over the American Broadcasting Network.

In October 1957, he joined WISN Radio and Television, Milwaukee. As Sports Director, he enjoyed three news and sportscasts daily on the radio and three on television. He also did play-by-play for all Marquette University football and basketball games plus on-the-spot commentary on WISN-TV’s live bowling show.

1961 brought yet another move for Tony and family as his brother, Fahey Flynn (WLS Channel 7 Chicago Newscaster) purchased WBSE, which was later moved to West Street at its current location WCSR (Community Service Radio) beginning another chapter in Tony’s broadcasting career. Although Tony was involved in the broadcasting of several sports, his true passion was football. His ability to talk fast led him to play-by-play for the Green Bay Packers as well as the Hillsdale College Chargers. Tony (WCSR, Inc.) purchased the station and continued managing, selling, broadcasting and road games which kept Flynn busy, but not too busy to get involved in service clubs and other improvements across Hillsdale County. An active member of the United Way and the “Yes we can Committee”, Tony and several other dedicated committee members completed the Marian Flynn Critical Care Unit as well as two other projects to advance the care of compassion at the Hillsdale Community Health Center. Tony enjoyed several sports, one being golf. He has been an active member at the Hillsdale Golf and Country Club since 1962.

Tony was inducted into the Hillsdale College Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999 for 38 years of broadcasting excellence of Charger Football. He was presented the Book of Golden Deeds from the Exchange Club. He was also a 50 year member of the Kiwanis Club and was also involved with the United Way.

He retired from WCSR Radio in 1999 and spent summers in Hillsdale and winters in Spring Lake, Sun City, and most recently St. Petersburg, Florida. His passion was always Hillsdale and Baw Beese Lake where he spent most of his summers.

Tony was married three times in his life; his high school sweetheart Marian Flynn for 46 years until she passed in 1992, Loretta Smith for five years until she passed and to Marilyn Jacobus from 2008 until 2018.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Loretta Flynn; his wives, Marian Flynn and Loretta Smith; son, Daniel Flynn; brothers, Fahey Flynn of Chicago and William Flynn of California and sister, Sr. Joellen Flynn of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.

A special thank you to his amazing aide, Ashley and Grace Hospice of Maumee, Ohio for assisting the family with his care.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Tony Flynn will be held Thursday, February 7, 2019 at 11:00 AM at St. Anthony Catholic Church in Hillsdale with Fr. David Reamsnyder officiating. Private interment will take place at St. Anthony Cemetery. The family will receive friends for visitation on Wednesday, February 6, from 4:00-8:00 PM at VanHorn-Eagle Funeral Home in Hillsdale.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Hillsdale County Community Foundation in memory of Tony or St. Anthony Catholic Church. Please visit www.eaglefuneralhomes.com to leave online condolences.