Tommy Flynn died of heart failure in Kaiser Hospital in Sacramento after a brief illness.
He was born in the Great Lakes Naval Hospital in Illinois to Ann Cameron and Richard Thomas Flynn and spent his early, pre-high school years in Augsburg, Germany, and in Allen Park, Detroit. His father, until he retired, was a full-time U.S. Army Command sergeant major and a three-war veteran, and thus Tommy's early days included much moving; but did lead to a relatively stable residence in Pismo Beach, Calif., while his father taught ROTC at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. During that time, Tommy attended and graduated from Arroyo Grande High School, followed by some course work at Cuesta College and at Cal Poly. For the years after that, he 'expanded' on his father's love of 'large scale' cooking and practiced these skills for most of the rest of his life, starting with a group that called themselves 'The Family' in Brisbane and in the Haight-Ashbury, feeding the homeless. Later, he struck up a relationship with Ralph Kunkee, a professor of winemaking at UC Davis, and eventually moved to Davis in 1985.
In Davis, he expanded his many interests, including music, especially of the so-called San Francisco Sounds, book collecting and, of course, cooking - working as a chef in several restaurants in the Davis area. During his early times at Davis, he was especially appreciated for his large-scale adjunct cooking for many of the students, especially those in the wine and grape disciplines.
Something more needs to be said about his music; although never having had any formal music training, he was exceedingly skillful on the piano and other keyboards, producing completely improvised beautiful renditions - none of which, it is sad to point out, were ever recorded. It needs to be added that his artistic talents also included rendering of stunning acrylic and oil paintings and the composition of dramatic, if esoteric poetry. In his last few days, he underwent extensive surgery in unsuccessful attempts to correct some serious aneurysm infections.
He is survived by his three sisters, Katherine Roop of Petaluma, Hyoka Bells of Ukiah and Barbara Flynn of San Francisco (and the husbands of the former two), all of whom where extremely attentive and concerned about his well-being.
Ralph Kunkee visited Tommy in the hospital the day before he died, and Tommy was especially affable and pleasant, giving Ralph no indication of any sad days to come. Tommy wished his remains to be cremated and the ashes are expected to be scattered around Pismo Beach, a geographical area where he had once lived and always loved to visit. Tommy had a wide circle of friends and will be especially remembered for his spontaneity and affection.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Tommy's name to the charity of their choice.