Mary Joyce Flynn “Joyce,”79, was born June 9, 1940, in St. Louis, deeply rooted in Labor and Democratic politics, with a devotion that remained central throughout her life.
Joyce was born into a strong union family. Her grandfather Frank J. O’Neill was an officer of Bricklayers Local 1 of Missouri during the late 1920s, and her father, Matthew Edward O’Neill (died Dec. 19, 1973) was an officer of the Bricklayers Local 1 of Missouri during the 1960s and 1970s.
She met her husband, John Flynn, through her Bricklayer affiliations. John later moved up the ranks to became president of St. Louis Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers Local 1 and ultimately International Union president with the Bricklayers International Union.
Throughout her life, Joyce remained a warrior for working people.
After graduating from St. Francis Xavier High School, Joyce and John were married and started a family. Their marriage was a partnership that led them through the Labor and political world. Her devotion as a mother was complemented by her drive to help her community. She professionally served as an alderman in Ellisville, Mo., assistant to former Mo. Governor Teasdale and as an organizer for the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 88 (Meatcutters Union).
In 1978, Joyce was immersed in the defeat of the phony “right to work” in Missouri.
In 1982, she moved to Washington D.C. with her husband John, who led the Bricklayers International Union until his retirement in 2011.
In Washington, Joyce remained very active in the Labor Movement and the Democratic Party and held leadership roles in a number of area civic organizations, including the DC Friends of Ireland, the Washington, DC St. Patrick’s Day Parade Committee, and the Washington-Ireland program.
One of her great charitable loves that was dear to her heart, where she was a zealous and tireless champion, was the Labor Heritage Foundation. She was one of their most ardent supporters and a prolific fundraiser. Each year Joyce held a major fundraiser and over the years raised more than $1 million for the organization.
Joyce worked closely with Hillary Clinton, helping those struggling from results of the war in Northern Ireland. The Flynns accompanied the Clinton’s to Ireland on various occasions in support of the Labor Foundation and Irish Americans for Hillary.
Joyce was preceded in death by son, Matthew, and is survived by husband, John; son, Johnny, and daughter, Margie; a sister, Peggy (Frank) Wilson (a retired union representative for UFCW Local 655); three grandchildren, Joseph and Veronica Wolf and Amanda (Johnny) Creek; four great-grandchildren; Ayanna, Tyler, Colton and Kylie; and a host of other relatives and friends.
An initial memorial service was held recently in Washington, D.C.
In St. Louis, a visitation was scheduled on Saturday, Dec. 28 and another on Sunday Dec. 29 from 4 – 8 p.m. at the Hutchens Funeral Home, 675 Graham Road, Florissant, MO 63031.
Funeral services will be held Monday, Dec. 30 at 9 a.m. at St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, 615 Dunn Road, Hazelwood, MO 63042.
For more information, contact the Hutchens Funeral Home at (314) 309-2675.
In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that contributions be sent to Pathway Homes, Inc., a 501(c)(3) charitable organization providing non-time-limited housing and supportive services to adults with serious mental illness and co-occurring disabilities in Northern Virginia. Founded in 1980, Pathways currently serves more than 400 adults in community-based homes in Northern Virginia. Donations may be sent to 10201 Fairfax Boulevard, Suite 200, Fairfax, Virginia 22030.