FLYNN, FR. THOMAS A. (May 19, 1932 - August 31, 2018) was the founding pastor of St. Clarence parish in North Olmsted, OH, and the genial host of an annual “Emerald Ball” for 39 years.
Thomas A. Flynn was the oldest son of Thomas Flynn of County Sligo, Ireland, and Annie (Feeney) Flynn of County Leitrim, Ireland. He attended CATHEDRAL LATIN SCHOOL in Cleveland, St. Gregory Seminary in Cincinnati, OH, Borromeo Seminary in Wickliffe, OH, and ST. MARY SEMINARY in Cleveland, OH.
Fr. Flynn was ordained on May 28, 1960, and was assigned to St. Mel Parish in Cleveland, where although only newly ordained, he insisted on having a St. Mel dancing and marching unit in Cleveland’s Saint Patrick’s Day Parade, because “after all, St. Mel was a nephew of Saint Patrick.” He subsequently served at St. Rita Parish in Solon, St. Richard Parish in North Olmsted, and St. Mark Parish in Cleveland before becoming the founding pastor of St. Clarence Parish in 1978. The large St. Clarence campus was built to accommodate a Catholic bookstore and space for community and parish events. He retired on Nov. 10, 2003, and was named pastor emeritus of St. Clarence Parish.
Fr. Flynn shared his abiding love for traditional Irish music and dance by throwing a large-scale party, the “Emerald Ball,” every year for 39 years. As many as four ballrooms would be full, often at Wagner’s Country Inn in WESTLAKE, OH, as Clevelanders from across the city gathered to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at this premier annual event. Fr. Flynn was appointed chaplain of the Ohio State Chapter of the ANCIENT ORDER OF HIBERNIANS in 1964. He was also a 2002 recipient of the WALKS OF LIFE AWARD from the Irish American Archives Society. He is buried at CALVARY CEMEMTERY in Cleveland, OH.
Daniel Brennan and David Patrick Ryan