Frank Lester Flanagan, born Jan. 27, 1929, in Stanton, Texas, to Frank L. Flanagan and Edna Rayford Flanagan, passed peacefully from this world at his home on Sept. 19, 2013. Frank spent his childhood in Stanton and Fort Worth, Texas; Chama, N.M.; and Ridgecrest, Calif., where he graduated from high school. He moved to Fairfield in 1949.
Fortunate to have two true loves, he married Bonnie in 1950 and was blessed with two children, Mike and Peggy. He lovingly cared for Bonnie until she passed. He met Joyce VanMeter on a blind date in 1983, married and became Dad to Shane and Lisa.
Co-owner of Mitchell-Flanagan Construction Company, Frank built many homes in Green Valley, including the home in which he resided in for the past 51 years. He could fix anything, solve any problem and build anything. He lovingly built creches and nativities for each of our children.
A man of many interests, Frank loved barbecuing (the world’s best brisket and ribs), music, his guitar, fishing, cowboy poetry, gardening and traveling. He explored this country’s back roads, once taking a 6-month, 15,000-mile trip covering the entire perimeter of the United States.
He and Joyce also explored England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales in the early 1990s in search of his family roots. For many years, he was a member of the Revelers Club. Frank was a Mason, a proud 52-year member of Suisun Lodge No. 55 F and AM and a 32nd degree Scottish Rite Mason. He was president of the Downtown Improvement District in the late 1970s. A man of integrity and honor, he loved to help things grow, including the minds of his grandchildren, Nick and Cody, who revere him as their mentor.
He loved restoring classic cars, including his beloved ’47 Mercury on which he was working right to the end. Frank belonged to the Early Ford V-8 Club of America, Contemporary Historical Vehicle Association, Klassic Uniques and was an honorary member of the Golden Hills Mustang Club. He led a wildly successful CHVA national tour to Canada in 2004 with 78 cars in attendance, including a 1938 Buick driven by an 81-year-old UC Davis professor and his son. He drove the entire length of Route 66 from Chicago to LA, drove coast-to-coast with the original Mustangs Across America and literally tens of thousands of miles on CHVA tours all over the country.
Forever an avid San Francisco Giants fan, he attended spring training in Arizona for several years. He was honored to have taken part with his Mustang convertible in many activities involving Hall of Famers and past and current players, including the last baseball game at Candlestick Park and the first game at PacBell Park (AT&T Park). A huge 49ers fan, he never missed a game, if it was accessible.
Proud to be an American and patriotic to the core, he flew the American flag at every given opportunity and was honored to have carried our Veterans during many parades.
Survivors include his loving wife, Joyce; children, Michael Flanagan of Phoenix, AZ, Peggy Ladd (Dave) of Florence, S.C., Shane VanMeter of Napa, Lisa Smithson of Napa and “adopted” daughter, Tami Newman of Farmington, MN; grandchildren, Jodi Spencer of Fairfield, Casey Ladd of Fairfield, Kevin Flanagan of Phoenix, AZ, Lauren (Rio) Byman of Phoeniz, AZ, Andrew Flanagan of Phoenix, AZ, Nick Smithson of Billings, MT, Cody Smithson, currently serving in Afghanistan; great-grandchildren, Ashley of Bothell, WA, Chelsea of Cookeville, TN, Nolan of Fairfield, Breagan, Addy, Aubrey and Cora Byman of Phoeniz, AZ.
He was predeceased by sister, Laura Beth Starks; brother, William F. Chambers.
A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Please contact a family member for details. For those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to the Fisher House at Travis Air Force Base, 100 Bodin Circle, Building 789, Travis AFB, Calif. 94535-1804.