A death in the Morristown family: Service for Patty Flanagan, Dec. 13

Patty Flanagan with her brother, Robert Flanagan, when he was sworn in as Morristown Fire Chief in 2013. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Patty Flanagan with her brother, Robert Flanagan, when he was sworn in as Morristown Fire Chief in 2013. Photo by Berit Ollestad
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Patty Flanagan was born with a severe disability. But it never crippled her spirit.

“She was probably the happiest person I ever met in my life,” Morristown Fire Chief Robert Flanagan said of his sister, who passed away early last Sunday at Morristown Medical Center. Patricia M. Flanagan was 56.

Patty Flanagan with her brother, Robert Flanagan, when he was sworn in as Morristown Fire Chief in 2013. Photo by Berit Ollestad
Patty Flanagan with her brother, Robert Flanagan, when he was sworn in as Morristown Fire Chief in 2013. Photo by Berit Ollestad

She had been rushed to the hospital for treatment of complications from Spina Bifida, a birth defect of the spine.

Paralyzed from the waist down, she was wheelchair-bound for her whole life.  Yet Patty inspired those around her, said her brother.

“She was amazing,” Robert Flanagan said. “She couldn’t walk. She couldn’t have a family. But she was an extremely happy person in life, despite her disabilities.”

That sunny demeanor was recognized at an early age;  Patty was a poster child for Easter Seals in the 1960s, her brother said.

Later, he said, Patty did some part-time work at The Arc/ Morris,  an organization in Morris Plains that helps people with developmental disabilities.

Family members were with her at the hospital this weekend; they were not expecting such a swift turn of events, the chief said. His sister had come through many health scares over the years.

“It’s kind of a shocker,” he said.

A funeral service is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, at 10 am in Assumption Church, 94 Maple Ave.

A lifelong Morristown resident, Patricia Flanagan is survived by another brother, Ed Flanagan, and by a sister, Karen Cross.  Her parents, Dorothy and Bernie Flanagan, predeceased her.

Editor’s note: Our condolences to Chief Flanagan and his family.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. So sorry Robert & family for your loss. Patty was an amazing person and I was so fortunate to have her a le a friend in my childhood. I learned a lot from her and your mom. I thought of Patty often over the years. She will missed greatly, especially her smile and laughter.

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