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Gene Flanagan - April 22, 2010

Major B.E. “Gene” Flanagan, USAF (Retired), was born March 2, 1934 in Holyoke, the only son of the late Francis B. and Myra Flanagan. He died April 22, 2010 after fighting a courageous battle with cancer. His faith and love for his family remained with him to the end.

After graduating from college, he joined the U.S. Air Force and became an aviation cadet. He spent the next 20 years doing what he liked best: flying single engine jet fighter planes. He accumulated over 4,200 hours of flying time in the F-100 Super Saber and A-7D.

His duty stations included Cannon AFB, New Mexico; Nellis AFB, Nevada; Williams AFB, Arizona; Myrtle Beach AFB, South Carolina; Hickam AFB, Hawaii; Italy; and Turkey. He successfully completed several tours in Vietnam with over 800 hours of combat flying time.

During his honorable career, he earned the Purple Heart, the Distinguished Flying Cross with 23 oak leaf clusters, three Air Medals with five oak leaf clusters, a Meritorious Service Medal and two Vietnam Service Medals.

Gene was known affectionately as “Flak” by his Air Force comrades. He retired to Hendersonville, N.C. in 1977, where he established lifelong friends. He frequently returned to his beloved Colorado for hunting, fishing and snowmobiling.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, Francis B. and Myra, and son, Michael.

He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Barbara; sons, Patrick Flanagan and wife Jennifer of Apex, N.C. and Casey Flanagan and wife Christy of Hendersonville; daughter, Denise Spargo and husband Dan of Wesley Chapel, N.C.; grandchildren who gave him such joy, Avery, Virginia, Zachary, Caroline and Bradley; loving and devoted sisters, Kathleen Baluha of Hendersonville and Sheila Baker of Fort Collins; brothers-in-law, Jerry Baluha, Van Baker and JC Fischer; sister-in-law, Rita Fischer; and a very special family friend, Coleen Crawford of Hendersonville.

A mass to celebrate his life was held on April 26 at The Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church in Hendersonville. Military rites were conducted by the Hubert M. Smith American Legion Post #77, Hendrick-Rhodes VFW Post #5206 and Chapter #14 of the DAV.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to be made to your favorite charity.