Anniversaries: My grandfather Michael John Flanagan born 87 years ago today

Mike Flanagan, probably in his late teens
while living in upstate New York, surrounded
by his foster nieces and nephew.

Today would have been my grandfather’s 87th birthday if he were still living. Michael “Mike” John Flanagan died in 1997, a few months shy of his 70th birthday. Mike was born in Buffalo, New York on May 23, 1927 to Patrick Thomas Flanagan and Sarah Kennedy

Grandpa Mike never really got the chance to know his parents. They both died of tuberculosis while he was very young — father Patrick while Mike was just 1-1/2 years old, mother Sarah when he was just 3 years old. Yet Mike did not even get to live with his mother for those full 3 years. Sarah became exposed to tuberculosis by her husband and had to send the minor children (she had an older daughter of adult age) to an orphanage quite some time before she too died. 
With his first great-granddaughter.

Mike was eventually placed with a foster family, but never adopted. He yearned for a family he could call his own.

When he married my grandmother in 1946, they soon took care of that need with 5 children, 13 grandchildren, and (so far) 15 great-grandchildren (most of whom, he never got to know).

Family was the most important thing in Grandpa’s world. He spoiled us rotten with love and affection, and always made us laugh.

I miss him every day. He was the best!

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