Longtime teacher, coach dies

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LEWISTON — A veteran educator and high school coach, Brian George Flynn Sr. of Auburn, died Tuesday at Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston. He was 74.

Flynn taught high school English and coached multiple sports at schools throughout Maine. In the 1970s and ’80s, he served as principal of Telstar Regional High School in Bethel, where he was responsible for several innovative programs that earned the school national recognition.

But more than simply a teacher and coach, Flynn was an enthusiastic singer, arts aficionado, gardener and family man.

“He really had a kind of Renaissance approach to life,” said Flynn’s son, Brian Flynn Jr.

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The senior Flynn was born in Lewiston, one of five brothers in an athletic family known for its speed, as well as commitment and determination. When he was a boy, his family moved from Monmouth to Lewiston, allowing the brothers to play football for Lewiston High School. As a student, Flynn played both baseball and football and became a multi-year letter-earner. He went on to Bates College, where he played both offense and defense on the football team. He was a member of the 1956 state championship team and earned All State honors.

After graduating from Bates in 1957, Flynn joined the U.S. Marine Corps. He felt the leadership training would help him in his dream career: coach.

“He aways thought that it was an opportunity to build character in young men,” his son said. “That was the most important thing about it for him. Of course, he liked to win and hoped he’d have good teams and a successful record. But really, his priority was for him to share with young athletes the type of experience that sports and athletics gave him: build self-esteem, learn what it’s like to be part of a team and collaborate with other young men and kind of cross that threshold from boyhood to manhood.”

For decades, Flynn taught English and coached football, baseball and other sports at the high school level, including at schools in Rockland, Rumford and Westbrook.

He loved coaching and teaching, but Flynn was more than an educator. A bold, enthusiastic man, he loved acting and singing. It took little encouragement for him to burst into song at family gatherings.

“He had one speed and it was full speed ahead,” his son said.

Flynn also enjoyed gardening, and at one point tended 880 tomato plants.

“He loved nurturing things and seeing them grow,” his son said.

Flynn was a devoted husband to Jeanne, his wife of 50 years, with whom he raised five children. Four of them became teachers.

“You couldn’t find a better father,” his son said.

Flynn is survived by his wife, five children and 13 grandchildren. Visiting hours will be held Friday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. at the Pinette & Lynch Funeral Home in Lewiston. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, with graveside committal prayers to follow at Mount Hope Cemetery.

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