Longtime local GOP leader Pat Flanagan dies

Dayton Attorney Patrick Flanagan
Dayton Attorney Patrick Flanagan

Patrick A. Flanagan, who helped transform the Montgomery County Republican Party in the 1980s, died Wednesday.

He was 81.

“Pat was a pioneer who brought both young people and minorities into our party,” said state Rep. Phil Plummer, R-Butler Twp., current chairman of the county party.

“Pat Flanagan was the godfather of the Republican party for many years, a dedicated Republican who believed in the core tenets and values of what Republicans stand for,” said Clay Twp. Trustee Dave Vore, a Republican and retired Montgomery County sheriff.

Flanagan’s wife of 54 years, Florence Flanagan of Dayton, said he had contracted COVID-19 at some point after being hospitalized in June for a foot infection and then going to a local rehabilitation center. She had not been able to visit him since June 10 because of his diagnosis.

Flanagan died at Sycamore Hospital, she said.

Patrick Flanagan, former Montgomery County Republican Party chairman and a Dayton attorney, is pictured in 1986. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Patrick Flanagan, former Montgomery County Republican Party chairman and a Dayton attorney, is pictured in 1986. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Credit: DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Credit: DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

“He loved all of his friends,” Florence Flanagan said. “And he was happiest when he was doing Republican politics.”

Pat Flanagan was an attorney at the Dayton firm Flanagan, Lieberman, Hoffman & Swaim, and was both partner and friend to former Montgomery County Democratic Party Chairman Dennis Lieberman.

“Pat was a good friend. He had just amazing character. He was a character. Even up to his last days. I talked to him Sunday and he was even using colorful language when I talked to him,” Lieberman said. “His last words were telling me he loved me, loved our firm and the times we had together.”

Lieberman said the two often talked of traveling to Israel together and he regrets they never got to make that trip.

They remained on opposite sides of the political spectrum but Lieberman, and others who knew Flanagan, said he never let politics get in the way of friendship.

“He always used to tell me that he was born a Democrat and then he saw the light,” Lieberman said. “I used to joke with him that that his biggest lack of judgment was his political judgment.”

Flanagan was chairman of the county party from 1982 until the early 1990s, said party activist Danny Hamilton. Dave Landon, another longtime party activist, said Flanagan arrived on the scene and shook up the “blue blood, Oakwood Republicans.”

“It felt like a more open party when he got involved,” Landon said. “He was a funny good-hearted man who just loved life.”

Landon said Flanagan was the lone member of the county party’s central committee to support Ronald Reagan for president in 1979.

“He was a visionary that way. He was a conservative before it was cool to be a conservative,” Landon said.

Patrick Flanagan, standing, a former Montgomery County GOP chairman and Dayton attorney, leads a toast at Langtree's Restaurant in 1982. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Patrick Flanagan, standing, a former Montgomery County GOP chairman and Dayton attorney, leads a toast at Langtree's Restaurant in 1982. DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Credit: DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Credit: DAYTON DAILY NEWS / WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY SPECIAL COLLECTIONS

Known for his jokes, Flanagan, “could walk into a room and say two or three quips and everybody is beaming,” said Landon.

“The other side of him was he was very tenderhearted and cared a lot about people,” Landon said. “He took a lot of young candidates under his wing and taught them to navigate local politics.”

Flanagan remained active in the local and state party politics.

“I was saddened to hear of the passing of Pat Flanagan this morning. Pat was the longest-serving member of our State Central Committee, having just been re-elected to his 19th term,” said Ohio Republican Party Chairman Jane Timken. “As Pat’s family endures this difficult loss, I wish them strength and peace.”

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, who got his start in politics as Greene County prosecutor, called Flanagan “an amazing trial lawyer.”

“He was a fun guy. He was very, very good at his craft,” DeWine said. “(He) provided me with good counsel many, many times.”

Flanagan is survived by his wife; two adult children, Christopher Flanagan, and Anne Flanagan and her husband, Shawn Meinhardt; and grandson Aiden Meinhardt, said Florence Flanagan. She said arrangements are pending and she hopes to have a memorial service in the future.

Anne Flanagan said her dad’s love of politics got some competition when his grandson was born 15 years ago.

“In the last 15 years my son took over that spot,” said Anne Flanagan of Kettering. “He loved his grandson. He called him every single night to tell him he loved him.”

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