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Tommy Flynn Dies

Tommy Flynn with Maggie Zindle and Marie Kalinowski at Ray Flynn's-back in the day.

Tom Flynn, former owner and proprietor of Ray Flynn’s Golden Dollar Bar on Main Street, died on Tuesday, August 11, 2009, at the age of 80.

Flynn’s will long be remembered, first as a bar frequented by local news reporters, and, after the closure of the Courier Express in 1982, as the bar that succeeded Murphy’s Omega on Pearl as the favorite haunt of local theater folk.

In later years, the walls were lined with the 8x10 glossies of local actors, and it was well known that Tommy would cash a check for an actor, or that a stage manager in need of work only had to hang out at the bar for a few hours on a Saturday night in order to land a gig. Protective of his clientele (whho were buzzed in through the locked glass door), Tommy was adored in the theater community. He knew every customer by name and was always ready to buy a regular a drink to keep the place packed on a weekend night. Mike and Marie were constant fixtures behind the bar, and added immeasurably to the family atmosphere. Patrons would play the bowling game or darts until closing every night.

Legend maintains that the bar, run by Tommy’s father Ray before him, had operated as a speakeasy throughout Prohibition. The place survived the death of Main Street and thrived throughout the 1980s and 1990s until Tom sold the place to the Archdiocese of Buffalo. The stories are numerous, and include the night of the Blizzard of 1977 when stranded Courier Express reporters spent the night there, as well as the revelry for the first several Curtain Up and Artie Award celebrations when the crowds spilled out onto the street, and the wedding of stage manager Leigh Harden and actor Paul O’Hern, which took place there.

The thriving business shuttered after a final roaring night on April 3, 1999. A month later, the building was demolished to create more parking for the Archdiocese. An era had come to an end.

Tom is survived by his wife Mary Jean, and his daughters Kathleen McConnaughey and Susan M. Flynn, as well as grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Friends are invited to call Thursday, 4-8pm, at the Dengler, Roberts, Perna Funeral Home at 2070 Eggert Road, Amherst. A Memorial Mass will be held at St. Timothy’s RC Church on Friday at 11am. Memorial contributions can be made to the Hospice Foundation of WNY.