CHARLESTON, W.Va. — When Thomas O’Brien Flynn put pen to paper, people paid attention.
The Wheeling native spent more than 60 years writing and editing for The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register.
Flynn, who died in 1983 at the age of 91, left a legacy as an editorial page editor. Even after his “retirement” in 1972, he continued to write his weekly column, “Personal Viewpoint,” which appeared in The Intelligencer and other Ogden newspapers in West Virginia until late 1981. He maintained a loyal readership throughout the Ohio Valley.
On Thursday, Flynn was inducted into the West Virginia Press Association Hall of Fame during the association’s 2015 convention, which runs through Saturday in Charleston.
Flynn wrote editorials for both The Intelligencer and Wheeling News-Register. After he relinquished the post of editor in 1978, he held the title of editorial page editor, and continued to write editorials and his weekly column. Others in the business referred to Flynn as an outstanding journalist, a gentleman and a sensitive, caring person.
As editor of The Intelligencer, he became the state’s leading spokesman for the Republican Party and an advocate of fiscal responsibility in government.
Flynn once wrote, “If there is to be broad freedom of personal action there must be a corresponding assumption of individual responsibility. Thus, while we believe that no person should remain in want even if public resources must be tapped to meet the need, we do not believe it is the responsibility of government to underwrite the economic health of the citizenship.”
Flynn used his skills as a journalist to lead the charge for fair property taxes through constitutional limitation; battled for modern, well-financed public schools; and raised opposition to the United States’ involvement in the Vietnam War.
His earlier career days found Flynn working as a reporter for the Wheeling Telegraph in 1911 and then on to The Wheeling Register. He also wrote for the Majority, a weekly labor publication in Wheeling; the New Castle, Pa. Herald; and the Pittsburgh Press.
Flynn covered numerous sessions of the West Virginia Legislature for the Ogden group of newspapers from 1933 until 1953. He also covered the 1936 Republican National Convention in Cleveland and was a delegate at large to the 1940 Republican National Convention in Philadelphia.
Flynn and his late wife, Frances, raised three children. Numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren complete the family.
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