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Lt. General Edward M. (Fly) Flanagan, United States Army (Ret.), 98, made his final jump on Thursday, November 7, 2019, at his home on Lady’s Island.

He spent his life in daily acts of adoration of his wife and devotion to God. A three-star Army General, accomplished author and military historian, he most liked to admire the river, do crosswords, and wear khakis with a blue sweater as often as possible. He loved his family well and leaves his wife of 74 years, Marguerite (Farrell) Flanagan; his children, E. Michael Flanagan III and wife Donna, Maureen A. (Flanagan) McNeill and husband Dan, Terrence G. Flanagan and wife Cheryl, and twins Patricia M. Flanagan and Kathleen M. Flanagan and husband Benjamin; three grandchildren Dan K. McNeill Jr. and his wife Sarah, John Flanagan, and Alison Salisbury; two great grandchildren, Paige McNeill and Maeve McNeill, many nieces and nephews and many close friends.

Born and raised in Saugerties, NY, the son of Edward and Marie (Sinnot) Flanagan, he was a career military officer stationed at home and abroad including Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Germany.

After graduating from the United States Military Academy in 1943 he became a paratrooper and fought in the Pacific during World War II. He had a combat jump into the Philippines with the 11th Airborne Division and participated in the occupation of Japan at the end of the war. He met his wife, Marguerite Farrell while on leave from West Point and they were married in 1945 when he returned from the war.

He had a distinguished military career, rising to the rank of Lt. General and his commands included the 25th Infantry Division (Assistant Division Commander), 1st Infantry Division, U.S. Army center for Special Warfare and U.S. Army Special Warfare School (Green Berets), Eighth United States Army and Sixth United States Army. He retired from active duty in 1978 and lived with his wife on Lady’s Island and worked for a time at the Dowling Law Firm in Beaufort. During his retirement he did extensive research and wrote a number of military history books including Angels at Dawn; The Los Banos Raid; Airborne” A Combat History of American Airborne Forces; and Lighting: The 101st in the Gulf War.

Lt. General Flanagan was devoted to his wife, his family and was a devout Catholic. He was a lector at the churches he attended including St. Peter’s and the Holy Cross Mission church where he enjoyed the weekly Saturday evening mass.

An avid tennis and squash player, he played both singles and doubles tennis well into his 90’s and was a senior squash champion when he lived in California.

A Memorial Mass of the Christian Burial will be held 11:00 a.m., Monday, November 11, 2019 at St. Peter’s Catholic Church on Lady’s Island, with a private burial at a later date at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to St. Peter’s Catholic School.

Online Condolences

  1. Bob Sheehan says:

    To all members of the Flanagan Fanily, espedially his sweet wife, Marguerite,

    What a simply great life. Indeed, “one of a kind” never to be replaced.
    Will miss chatting after Mass on Sundays.. “Fly” is an icon.

    May God give solace to the family.

  2. Barbara & Marvin Stanley says:

    May he rest in peace, and may God comfort his family & friends with fond memories. It has been an honor to know Fly.

  3. Joe Roney says:

    My prayers are with the Flanagan Family, but we all can reflect on great memories of “Fly”.

    Just a few years ago, he and I were playing tennis on Dataw Island every Saturday. He was always a gentleman, and we both played left handed which we told our opponents was our advantage.
    He was a wonderful writer of military history and I enjoyed reading his books.He will be missed but not forgotten.

  4. Marc Amidon spec 4, enlisted aide at Fort Riley says:

    I am sorry for your loss. It was a pleasure serving Gen. Flanagan and your entire family. From Cape Cod, Ma.

  5. Julie Anderson says:

    Terry, so sorry to hear about your dad’s passing. May God comfort you and give you his peace during this difficult time.

  6. Alice Klatt Harvey says:

    the Flanagans are a blessed family and I am sure that
    Fly has been welcomed home with “well done , good and faithful servant”. There must be dogs and tennis courts in the perfect world to come and maybe Emil and Fly can
    practice. My love and God’s consolation to you Peg.

  7. Elaine Casey Murphy says:

    Sends regards to Peg and Family. You were a great airborne couple, and I remember mule visit to Beauford fondly. You our in our thoughts and prayers.

  8. Paul Leonard Vicalvi says:

    Maureen and Dan–we are so very sorry for your loss but grateful that your dad’s journey on this earth is over. He lived life well and set the standard for godly living. May our God grant you all his peace and comfort.

  9. John Arnold says:

    Served under him at Fort Riley in 1970/71
    Only General I ever met and was great to talk to about anything.

  10. John R. Barth says:

    I was a ghost writer for Gen. Flanagan, and then the CO of HHC 1st ID, when he was the CO of the 1st ID at Ft. Riley in 1971-72. He was a rock solid man with great courage and integrity. Will never forget him and the positive influence he had on my life. He and Red Fuller were a great combination of leaders at that time. Sincere condolences to family and friends.

  11. Jack Leavy says:

    Sorry to hear about Gen Flanagan. I served under the Ft Bragg in 1970. Had many a great squash match with him. May he rest in Gods hands.

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