Friday, February 22, 2013
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James A. Flenner, LCDR, USNR, was born on July 9, 1921, and left for his eternal heavenly home on Feb. 18, 2013, at the age of 91. He passed on at home in the loving care of his wife and daughter with the wonderful support of hospice.

Born in Ohio, he left college to enter the Navy in World War II, becoming a Navy pilot and serving in both WW II and the Korean War, retiring as a Lt. Commander. Most of his time was spent as a blimp pilot on patrol for subs in South America and off the coast of Florida.

His service brought him to Key West, and Ohio was no longer a part of his life, as he fell in love with the tropics and fried shrimp! He stayed in the Naval Reserves following World War II and after being recalled for the Korean War. Upon his return to Key West he opened his real estate office in January 1954, and remained a broker until his passing.

He appraised and brokered the sale of many, many Keys properties over the years, some quite well known, including Munson Island (Little Palm) sold twice and the Hemingway House, among many others.

He was a member of the Fifth Street Baptist Church, his church home. He loved his Lord, the church and the members. Pastors Ozzie, Bob and Dan were all special to him.

He dearly loved his family, the Navy, real estate and working with the public. His office at 416 Fleming St. was always a beehive of activity, once having 21 agents plus being a social center during the day. Many agents who began with him went on to open their own real estate offices.

It was often said that if you wanted to find anyone in Key West, just hang out in his office for the day and that person would most likely walk through the door!

His beautiful renovation of the large old structure he purchased there was one of the first recipients of the Old Island Restoration Foundation Stars. Many local attorneys and others started out in the little building in the rear by the parking lot.

His love for his country and the Navy was a very big part of his life. He was a charter member of the local Navy League, a National Trustee for the Association of Naval Aviation as well as a local chapter commander, member of the Military Officers Association of America, the American Legion, MOWW, and his beloved LTA (Lighter Than Air) group, among many others, a supporter of the Navy Air Museum in Pensacola as well as the WW II Museum in New Orleans. In 2010, he and Ann went on a commercial blimp ride while in California for his LTA reunion.

His community service included having been a Civil Defense Director for Monroe County, a former member of the Florida Keys Aqueduct Board and a former Orange Bowl Committee member.

He was a member of the Public Works Board and instrumental in the renovation of the red brick Community Center building and Mallory Square in 1962. At one time he was the court appointed Receiver for the Golf Course & Ocean Side Marina, a very interesting period to be sure! He was one of the developers of Indian Mound Estates Subdivision on Sugarloaf Key. He and Ann attended both the commissioning and launching of the USS Key West Submarine. He was a member of the Key West Orchid Society and an avid supporter of MARC.

He dearly loved gardening, with a special passion for orchids, having more than 200, which he lovingly cared for himself. He always said he felt close to God while in the garden. One of his favorite quotes was from Edward W. Bok, "Make the world a bit better or more beautiful because you have lived in it," and he tried to do that. He had a wonderful, well lived life until about three years ago when cancer intruded and slowed him down.

He is survived by the love of his life and soul mate, his wife Ann, also a real estate broker who worked beside him. Also surviving are a son, Christopher Flenner (Jamie and son Tyler) of Nashville, Tenn., daughter Jackie Hampson (Tim) and grandsons Danny and Mikey of Tavernier, Fla. Other family includes brother-in-law Bill Cotton (Karol), sister-in-law Sue Cates (Harold) and their families. His passing will leave a big void in many lives including our special nurse and friend, Laura Escobar. Until we meet again, he will remain in all our hearts.

Services will be today, Friday, Feb. 22, at 2 p.m. at Fifth Street Baptist Church, Key West. A reception/visitation will follow in the fellowship hall and he will be laid to rest in Southern Keys Cemetery, Big Coppitt Key.

Special thanks to Dr. Julie Floyd, Hospice, Steve, Pat, our church and all our neighbors and friends. Saying goodbye is never easy but.the love and prayers we have received really help ease the pain. Always remember to love the people God gave you, as He will need them back one day. Jim was loved dearly while here and is now safely home. Thank you God for allowing us to share him for so many years.

If you wish to make a remembrance, please make a donation to Fifth Street Baptist Church, Hospice, MARC or to a charity of your choice in memory of this wonderful man.

Castillo & Thurston Mortuary is in charge of arrangements.