Obituary Listings

Ann R. Flanagan

December 11, 1942 June 13, 2018
Ann R. Flanagan
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Obituary for Ann R. Flanagan

Ann Rita Flanagan (O’Meara)
Medical Researcher
Beloved Educator

Ann Rita Flanagan, nee O’Meara, 75 years old, of Pride’s Crossing, and formerly of Dorchester, and then Boston’s South End, 1969 – 2012, passed away peacefully after a brave battle of fifteen years with Parkinson’s Disease.
She was the beloved wife of Bernard Flanagan during their 47 years of marriage and mother of Elizabeth Flanagan of Somerville and Aidan Flanagan and his wife Abigail of Concord. Her grandson is Michael Flanagan of Concord, and her “surrogate” granddaughter is Alice Lund Potocki of South Natick.
Ann was born in Boston on December 11, 1942, the oldest child of Detective Sgt. Francis O’Meara of the Boston Police Department and Rita O’Toole O’Meara of Mattapan, and later of Hingham. She leaves her younger brother Francis O’Meara, formerly of the Suffolk District Attorney’s Office, his wife Mary Littlefield O’Meara, and their children now residing in Norwell, and her younger brother Robert O’Meara, his wife Patricia Holland O’Meara, and their children and grandchildren, now residing in Scituate. A younger sister Patricia predeceased her.
Ann graduated from Fontbonne Academy, Milton in 1960, Regis College in 1964, and Boston University, M.S., and Ph.D (Biochemistry) in 1969.
She completed further training as a Post-Doctoral Fellow at B.U. Medical School doing scientific research at the VA Hospital in Bedford from 1969-1972. Ann’s research focused on the factors that contributed to gene regulation in aging. Her research was funded by federal scientific grants from the National Institutes of Health from 1972-1979.
She returned to B.U. Medical School to direct her own research lab in the mid 1970’s, publishing notable papers in Gerontology. At the Medical School she also served on the Admissions Council and taught biochemistry in the newly-constituted six-year Medical School Program.
In 1979, the French Government awarded Ann a bursary to teach American research techniques in the lab of Professor Cuzin at the University of Nice Medical School.
When Ann returned to the U.S. to continue her research at B.U. Medical School, most funding, even for highly-rated proposals like Ann’s, was cut by the Nixon administration, a political decision masquerading as a scientific one.
She subsequently focused on her two children, Elizabeth, born 1974 and Bernard Aidan, born 1980.
In 1983 a former graduate student of hers, sidelined by a major ski accident, renewed acquaintance and asked Ann to replace her, teaching chemistry at The Winsor School in Boston.
The holistic challenge of secondary education, encouraging young women to embrace the opportunity of studying and pursuing careers in the hard sciences became her new vocation. Quite soon the school named her head of the science department where she spent multiple years forming and strengthening all science courses throughout the school from grades 5-12. The students responded to her enthusiasm and teaching ability in the classroom and in 1987 the Senior Class invited her to be their graduation speaker. She continued her vocation until the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease forced her to forego her calling. She retired in 2006, in the sure knowledge that Winsor Science was on a firm footing and she took enormous pride in the young teachers she had brought into the Department, many of whom she had mentored.
Besides the raising of her children, Ann’s avocations included the restoration of an ante-bellum town house on Union Park in the city-neglected South End of Boston during the 1970’s. She was adept at directing skilled carpenters, plasterers, plumbers, other utility professionals, and general help, even educating them on the necessity of installing French drains and pumps in the dugout cellar, to control the incoming ocean waters that ran under the reclaimed land on which many South End houses were built. She completed the restoration in 1979 after only 14 weeks of work. Six stories, newly renovated that she gifted to the City Tax Office for re-assessment!
Another major talent was her dynamic touch and taste in French cuisine. She was an early student of Madeleine Kamen both at the start in Lexington and subsequently at Modern Gourmet in Newton Centre, consolidating her knowledge by frequent summer trips France and Italy. An invitation to her table was never refused and she could unabashedly invite to dinner local luminaries like Franco Romagnoli, Moncef Meddeb (Espalier), Sheryl Julian, the Boston Globe Food editor, Stephen Meuse, the Globe’s wine professional and educator, and June Spackman of Cuisine Chez Vous, for whom she served as a consultant.
Classical music provided by the Boston Symphony Orchestra over 35 years as a subscriber was the way she relaxed from her multiple pursuits. Her trips abroad also provided opportunity to enjoy opera in Italy, France, the Czech Republic, and Argentina. Her birthday was always acknowledged with a trip to the Metropolitan Opera, NY, and a subscription to Arizona Opera in Tucson, where she spent several winters.
Her personal academic knowledge and interest focused on 18th century American furniture, which made her a frequent visitor to the collections in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts, Providence, RI, and the Dupont Winterthur collection in Delaware.
To her many French friends she represented the best of American education – a research scientist who also embraced the culture of the humanities. She showed interest and enthusiasm for French architecture, history, furniture, and cuisine. She was also able to speak to “les bonnes femmes” in the markets and stores in their own language. Her fervent last wishes centered on returning to France to recall her happy moments.
The Flanagan family would like to thank the following, whose loving care sustained Ann in the last few years of her life: Dr. Kathryn Rexrode and Dr. Alice Flaherty; Mary Littlefield O’Meara, her sister-in-law; Helen Young, her colleague from The Winsor School and frequent visitor; Michael Horvath, Terry Mgaresh, Julie Le Favour, April Richard, and Elinor Gauthier, her five principal caregivers; Ross, Dede, and Emily of the Wellness Clinic of Gordon College in Wenham; the professionals in the Emergency Department, the Critical Care Unit, and North 6 at Emerson Hospital in Concord; and Care Dimensions Hospice Care. They all helped Ann face the challenge of dealing with the life-limiting illness that is Parkinson’s Disease.
The Flanagan family intends to hold a celebration of Ann’s life this coming September for family, friends, and former colleagues and students. Expressions of sympathy may be made in her memory through donations to Rosie’s Place, The Greater Boston Food Bank, or the Pine Street Inn, three local charities Ann supported throughout her life. Information, directions, condolences at

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