DOWNEY - Longtime resident and volunteer Dr. Robert Flynn will serve as grand marshal of the Downey Christmas Parade taking place this Sunday at 1:30 p.m."Bob has contributed so much volunteer time and happiness to Downey in his own quiet way and is very deserving of the honor," said Maria Larkin, chairman of the Downey Chamber of Commerce's parade committee. Born in Inglewood in 1925, Flynn enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserves after graduating from Loyola High School in 1943. After serving two years during World War II, Flynn entered dental school in 1945 at College of the Physicians and Surgeons - now University of the Pacific - in San Francisco, graduating in 1948. Flynn opened his dental practice in Leimert Park in 1948 and married Frances Byrne the following year. Their first child, Robert Stephen, was born in 1950. When the Korean War broke out in 1950, Flynn closed his business and reenlisted in the Navy as a dentist, serving aboard the USS Renville APA 227. His daughter, Marilyn, was born in 1951 while Flynn was serving overseas. In all, Flynn and his wife had 10 children. Flynn was honorably discharged in 1953 and he opened an orthodontist office in Downey in 1954. He worked for more than 40 years, retiring in 2000. Flynn joined Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in 1954, serving as organist from 1957-67 before retiring to join with the choir, with whom he still sings. "For over 10 years I served as the 'gopher' to bring food for the poor every month from OLPH to be distributed by the Missionaries of Charity," remembers Flynn. He also served as Eucharistic minister and lector for several years, in addition to hosting bible study classes. Even when he was still a practicing dentist, Flynn volunteered to play the piano at local nursing homes. Upon retirement, he volunteered to play the piano full-time at rest homes, adult daycare centers, churches, wedding receptions, Downey Adult School, Cerritos College's outreach program and "anywhere they wanted a piano player." "I have four singers that volunteer with me, some a few times a week, for our little 'concerts' mostly for senior citizens," said Flynn. "Although I'm slowing down now, I really enjoy playing and I plan to continue playing as long as I am able." Meanwhile, Joan Frey, a community volunteer and current president of the Assistance League of Downey, will ride in Sunday's Downey Christmas Parade as the "Community Honoree." She and her husband, Chuck, put their three children - now all adults and married - through Downey schools, She has served as president of the Maude Price Parents Club and on the governing boards of both Griffiths Middle Schools and Warren High School PTAs. During that time Frey also chaired the Downey Unified School District's district-wide Early Childhood Education committee, was active at Price Elementary, and received honorary service awards from Price and Warren. She also taught home economics at adult schools in Whittier, Norwalk-La Mirada, Downey, Orange County and one semester at Cerritos College, for a total of 32 years. She still does some substitute teaching. Frey served on the city's Environmental Health and Sanitation committee from 1976 to 2010; the Keep Downey Beautiful committee since its inception in 1978; and currently serves on the Public Works committee. She received the Downey Coordinating Council's Volunteer of the Year award for her work with Keep Downey Beautiful in 2000. In early 2005 she was recognized for Outstanding Community Involvement from the city of Downey and Waste Management. Soroptimist International of Downey honored Frey with its Woman of Distinction Award in 2006. Frey has also been involved with the Downey Panhellenic, and she is currently involved professionally with the Family and Consumer Sciences group, where she has held many positions, including two stints as president. Active with the Assistance League of Downey for 10 years, she is also an elder in her church.
********** Published: December 1, 2011 - Volume 10 - Issue 33