Frank Flinn: Wash U. Professor Emeritus, Stone Spiral regular

Stone Spiral Coffee morning regulars began the week on a sad note: Frank K. Flinn, of University City, who regularly set up office at the shop, died over the weekend, we were told.

Frank Flinn, via Facebook

Frank Flinn, via Facebook

The Stone Spiral (2500 Sutton Boulevard) was home base for Maplewood-Brentwood Patch, beginning around 2012, and has continued as the morning office for 40 South News. Flinn was Professor Emeritus of Religious Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, and was working on a another edition to his Encyclopedia of Catholicism, originally published in 2007. His encyclopedia had been called, “scholarly yet readable,” he liked to tell folks. It included some of his own illustrations.

Read an article Flinn contributed to 40 South News: Creation — GENESIS — Evolution

As he worked he could be distracted to share his glee over the latest blunder made by a politician (often a conservative), photos on his phone from a trip with his wife, Alice (prairie chickens in northern Missouri, or Tibet, lately), or give advice to stack books under your laptop (it’s better for your back). He also liked to buy a cookie at the counter and share half of it.

Frank couldn’t be ignored, with his Hawaiian shirts, friendly disregard of personal space, booming laugh, and frequent exclamations over something in the news (often worldwide) that touched him that he had to share. He always showed interest in what others were doing.

Having known Frank, in a small way the last four years of his life, there’s no way I could do justice to this man who obviously lived a full and wonderful life — I’m sure he touched many with his intelligence and enthusiasm. I do know he was a vital part of the Stone Spiral family, and he’ll be missed.


4 thoughts on “Frank Flinn: Wash U. Professor Emeritus, Stone Spiral regular

  1. You have written a fine tribute to a “gentle man and scholar” indeed–an enthusiast open to the joy and mystery of life–and it truly was a rare delight to know him. I will deeply miss seeing him at Stone Spiral–as will many of us. Comfort to all, as we treasure his gifts to many. “May there be light on his spirit and eternal peace on his soul.” (3x’s)
    I last saw Frank at the memorial service for another area genius and unique soul, Ken Palmer. At that time, I asked if he would speak to our local Jane Austen group. His face lit up. I was looking forward to hearing him expound on something he said to me at the coffeehouse a few months ago–“Jane Austen can put more wisdom in a teacup than Tolstoy, in all his wars.” My paraphrase; he said it better!

  2. Very sorry to hear this. I used to encounter Frank on twice-weekly “Wildside Walkers” strolls at the Zoo. He was truly “a gentleman and a scholar.”