Death of commissioner stuns friends |

Death of commissioner stuns friends

by F.T. Norton

A prominent Storey County resident died early Tuesday morning from natural causes, an official said.

Paramedics were called to the Virginia City home of Storey County Commissioner John Flanagan, 71, between 6 and 7 a.m. Tuesday morning, said City Manager Pat Whitten.

Flanagan died en route to the hospital.

Whitten said the county coroner has determined the death to be natural causes.

“This is a huge loss,” said Whitten. “John gave his whole life for public service. He was an incredible man and an incredible community leader.”

In recent days, Flanagan had been battling an undisclosed illness, said Whitten.

But fellow commissioner Bum Hess said it wasn’t anything serious.

“I thought he was doing better. The last commission meeting (July 8) we joked and laughed like we normally do and everything was fine,” said Hess. “It was a complete shock to me.”

In addition to serving on the Storey County Commission, Flanagan was a member of the Nevada Commission for the Reconstruction of the V&T Railway. Hess said Flanagan was instrumental in getting the train to run between Virginia City and Carson City.

“He was a wonderful commissioner and great asset to Storey County,” said Carson City Mayor Bob Crowell, who also serves on the V&T Commission. “He was just a gentleman.”

Flanagan, a third-generation Virginia City resident, was first elected in 1979 as county assessor, a position his father also held. He and his wife Erlene also were heavily involved in the Fourth Ward School Museum.

After serving for eight years on the County Commission, Flanagan had decided against running for re-election and was going to retire, said Hess.

“He did his eight years, and was just going to travel and goof off with Erlene,” said Hess. ” Gosh, I wish he could have had the chance to do that.”

A funeral Mass is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Mary in the Mountain Catholic Church.