Richard Clay Flanagan, Sr.
(29 Sep 1894 - 4 Mar 1978)

Richard Clay Flanagan, Sr. and his wife Katherine Burnett Flanagan: at their 50th Wedding Anniversary in 1964

One story I would like to share about my grandfather goes back to the winter of 1975. The heater core went on on my 1968 Pontiac La Mans and I definitely did not have the money to have it fixed. I was in my senior year at UT, a full-time student, married with a 1 year old son, and worked full-time at UT unloading coal cars and repairing steam lines from 3 - 11 PM (pay was $2.17 per hour).

Pap-paw, as he was called by Gerry and I, told me not to worry about it. He told me to back the car in his garage and he would help me replace the heater core the upcoming weekend. So, off I go to Motor Products and buy the new heater core, plus the repair manual for the Pontiac. I studied the manual for the entire week so that I would be able to do the work by myself - I wanted to impress Pap-paw with the fact that I could do it. [I wasn't a mechanic then, and believe me I am not a mechanic now.] It is a good thing I studied the book. The only times he was in the garage was to give me a hard time - in his on special way.

The book instructed me to remove the front bumper, the grill, the right fender well, and so on. Pap-paw got a real kick out of watching me take everything apart. It was only after I finished that I actually understood why he was giggling and smirking every time he came downstairs. I assured him that there was no way I would mess up putting everything back together because I had placed everything in an exact spot in such a way that it was very clear to me in what order the pieces went back together.

When everything was off and in its place I realized what all of the snickering was about. I didn't have to take off the bumper, grill, fender well, etc.... What was his response? "You should have asked". Everything went back together just fine except for one small problem. There was one bolt left on the garage floor! Once again I got to see the smirk and smile from Pap-paw. He never admitted to placing the bolt on the floor, but I think he did.

A favorite saying Pap-paw was known for was ... 'you'll feel better when the pain goes away'. I love it, and use it every chance I get. Some of the students that work for me in my research area don't seem to appreciate it very much though. But, when I hear them saying the same thing to their fellow students it makes me feel good to know that something my Pap-paw said to me, is now being spread around to others.

--Phil Flanagan