Cover photo for COL William "Bill" Joseph Flanagan, Jr.'s Obituary
COL William "Bill" Joseph Flanagan, Jr. Profile Photo
1938 COL William "Bill" Joseph Flanagan, Jr. 2023

COL William "Bill" Joseph Flanagan, Jr.

July 19, 1938 — December 3, 2023

Colonial Heights

Colonel William (Bill) Joseph Flanagan, Jr., aged 85, of Colonial Heights, peacefully joined his beloved wife of 60 years, Diane, in eternal rest on 3 December. Colonel Flanagan was a devoted family man, a dedicated servant of both God and country, and a proud patriot. Bill was born and raised in the historic town of Saratoga Springs, New York. His early years were immersed in the world of the racetrack and working at his family’s 3 hotels to include the 19 th Century Rip Van Dam Hotel. He graduated from St. Peter’s Academy in 1956, and in 1960 earned his Bachelor of Science at Cornell University where he also completed his Army ROTC training. Later he went on to earn his Master of Science from the University of Delaware in 1973. He also graduated from the U.S. Army War College in 1985. In 1960, his military journey commenced at what was then Fort Lee, Virginia, and with Airborne training at Ft. Benning, Georgia. In 1962, he returned to Saratoga Springs and met the love of his life, Diane Konen, a student at Skidmore College. Just three months later, they became engaged and were married in February 1963. Their union was blessed with four children, Michael, Chris, Bill, and Taimi, and together, they navigated life in 22 different homes, including 11 years in Europe, residing in France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Colonel Flanagan’s exceptional military career spanned over 30 years as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Army’s Quartermaster Corps. His innate talent for organization and innovative process development led to several critical and impactful roles. Notably, he became the first Chief of the Office of the Quartermaster General where he helped to re-establish the Quartermaster Regiment, the training of Quartermaster occupational specialties, and the office of the Quartermaster General. In Europe, he held significant positions, including Chief of Staff of the 2nd Corps Support Command supporting VII Corps, Commander of the Defense Subsistence Region Europe, and ultimately, Commander of Defense Logistics Agency Europe. His most significant contribution to the Department of Defense was as the first Chief of Staff of the Defense Commissary Agency at Fort Lee. He was handpicked to establish the groundwork for an integrated DOD commissary system with an annual budget exceeding $7 billion. His efforts led to greater efficiencies and reduced costs, ensuring the continued viability of the commissary system, which now serves nearly 1.5 million service members and their families worldwide. Colonel Flanagan was the recipient of numerous awards and decorations throughout his service, including the Defense Superior Service Medal (2nd Award), Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal (2nd Award), Vietnam Service Medal (4th Award), Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal, RVN Gallantry Cross with Palm, 2 Overseas Service Bars, Parachute Badge, and Army Staff Identification Badge. In 2018, he was recognized as a “Hometown Hero” by the Colonial Heights Chamber of Commerce, and in September 2020, he was inducted into the Army Quartermaster Hall of Fame. His experiences during his service in Vietnam in 1968 deeply impacted him. The loss of close friends in combat and the reception that he and his fellow Soldiers received upon their return to the United States inspired a lifelong commitment to supporting Soldiers, veterans, and their families. He was actively involved in several military associations and veterans’ organizations, including the Quartermaster Museum Foundation Board (for 30 years), Military Officers Association of America (MOAA) Virginia president and state leadership council member (12 years), Virginia War Memorial Foundation, Association of the United States Army (AUSA), American Legion, and the VFW. He was also a founding member of American Veteran’s Vote (AVV). In retirement, Colonel Flanagan translated his passion for service into a new role as the Legislative Aide and Chief of Staff to the future Speaker of the House, Delegate Kirk Cox, serving for 23 years. He was dedicated to improving the lives of Virginians and safeguarding democratic principles. With Bill’s help, Delegate Cox submitted more veteran and military legislation than the next four highest General Assembly members, combined. His commitment to the Republican Party was unwavering, with 16 years of service on the Virginia Republican State Central Committee, chairing the 4th Congressional Republican Committee, and over 30 years of involvement with the Colonial Heights Republican Committee, including two terms as Chairman. He continued his service in 2020 as a Founding Member of American Veterans Vote (AVV), for which he advised on grass roots organizing and mobilization. In 2022 the Chair of the Republican National Committee presented Bill with a medal in recognition for his many years of service. He also had the distinct honor of visiting the White House and meeting three Republican Presidents. Colonel Flanagan’s sense of duty extended to his faith. Throughout his life, he actively participated in various ministries, including Alter Boy, Marriage Encounter, Catechist, Lector, and being a 4th Degree Knight of Columbus. In later years, he served with pride as a Knight Commander in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, a philanthropic organization supporting Palestinian Catholic schools and institutions in the Holy Land. Colonel Flanagan is survived by his two sisters, Zoe Ann (Scott) and Carole Jean (Wayne), as well as his four children, Michael (Melia), Christopher (Lucila), William III, and Taimi; seven grandchildren, Thomas (Sophia), Mary (Jon), Kirsten (Canyon), Catherine (Philippe), Thomas (Abriana), David, and Ian; and seven great-granddaughters, Madelyn, Rosalie, Claudia, Audrey, Zoe, Elliot, and Summer. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Diane Gay (Konen) Flanagan, his parents William and Zoe, and his brother, Thomas. A Mass of the Resurrection, officiated by Father Ernest Bulinda, will be held on 12 December, at 6:00 p.m., at St. Ann’s Catholic Church, located at 17111 Jefferson Davis Highway, Colonial Heights, VA 23834. Prior to the Mass, a visitation will be held from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. A reception will follow in Condon Hall. A graveside service for Colonial Flanagan and Mrs. Flanagan will be held April 30, 2024 at 11:00 a.m. in Arlington National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests that donations be made in Colonel Flanagan’s memory to the Quartermaster Museum Foundation. Donations may be made online at www.quartermasterfoundation.org/donate or checks may be mailed to Army Quartermaster Foundation, 13203 N. Enon Church Rd., Suite A-210, Chester, VA  23826. The Army Quartermaster Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization whose sole purpose is to preserve the history and heritage of the US Army Quartermaster Corps. Condolences may be registered at www.ealvinsmall.com

 

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Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Graveside Service

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Starts at 11:00 am (Eastern time)

Arlington National Cemetery

1 Memorial Ave, Arlington, VA 22211

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Past Services

Visitation

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

4:00 - 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Funeral Mass

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

Starts at 6:00 pm (Eastern time)

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Reception to Follow Mass

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

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