John Flynn loved to make people laugh.
If there was a long line at a store, Flynn would say, “Get someone else out here or I’m going to die standing in line!”
Other favorites of his included dropping unwanted items into other people’s shopping carts and turning to strangers on the street and saying, “Hi, nice to see you again.”
But Flynn’s days of making friends and strangers laugh have ended. The World War II veteran and Laguna Niguel resident who fought under General George S. Patton in the Battle of the Bulge died on Thursday, July 6. He was 96.
Betts Flynn, 92, reflected on the happier times in her 30-plus year marriage to Flynn four days after his death.
“He will always be with me,” she said.
John Flynn was born on Aug. 28, 1921 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He got drafted and served in the Army from Sept. 21, 1942 to May 15, 1946, according to records he shared with the Dana Point Historical Society.
He earned the rank of first sergeant and served in England, France, Germany and Luxembourg during World War II. Along the way, he was awarded a Silver Star, Bronze Star and Purple Heart, among other achievements.
Flynn’s war experiences in Europe took him to Normandy, the Ardennes and the Rhineland. He was also shot in both legs during the war.
“He saved a whole bunch of guys from the Germans during World War II,” said Paul Roberts, a neighbor and friend.
Roberts said the two would play cards once a week while calling him his “best friend.”
“He had a strong heart,” Roberts said. “That’s what was keeping him alive. But he was in constant pain and they couldn’t get rid of it.”
Betts Flynn echoed his comments.
“He was in pain for many years, but he was always in good humor,” she said, adding that her husband suffered from arthritis, spinal stenosis and other ailments. “He had a great sense of humor and he…