Joseph Michael Flanagan will be buried next to his wife in the Twentynine Palms Cemetery following services at the Catholic Chapel at the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center on April 3, 2004. He died on Nov. 26 , at the Spokane Veterans’ Home in Spokane, Wash., where he was a resident.
Flanagan was born to Thomas J. Flanagan and Bridget (O’Loughlin) Flanagan, in Hartford, Conn., on Nov. 2, 1920, the fourth of eight children. His parents were both immigrants from County Clare, Ireland.
Flanagan left high school before completing his senior year and joined the U.S. Marine Corps on Dec. 4, 1937. During World War II, Flanagan was a member of the renowned Edson’s Raiders. He traveled to San Diego to join the Carlson Raiders where he was promoted to staff sergeant and began training for conflict in the Pacific. He served as a supply and mess sergeant on Guadalcanal and Bougainville, where he was promoted to technical sergeant and then to master technical sergeant. Flanagan was awarded the Bronze Star for his service at Iwo Jima, Bougainville and Guadalcanal.
Somewhere in the Pacific his comrades nicknamed him “Jungle Jim.” The name Jim stuck, and he was known as Jim Flanagan the rest of his life. He also served in Korea during the Korean War, July of 1952 to July of 1953.
When based at Scotia, NY, he broke his leg in a skiing accident. Flanagan met his future wife, Pharmacist Mate Lorraine Alice Plumb, USN, while recuperating at the base’s Naval hospital. They were married in 1948, a marriage that lasted just under 50 years.
After serving at many duty stations stateside, his last tour of duty was Twentynine Palms. Flanagan retired from the U.S. Marine Corps on June 30, 1959. Twentynine Palms became his retirement home until he moved to Spokane in 2002 to be near family.
The retired Marine held numerous jobs and, at one time, was 49 percent owner/operator of Foster’s Freeze. The business grew to two stores and a concession aboard the Marine base before the partnership ended. His last job was assistant commissary officer, a position he enjoyed very much. Retirement came after serving over 30 years in military and civil service. Also during retirement, he found the time to complete his high school course work and was awarded his high school diploma from Twentynine Palms High School.
He is survived by son Christopher Flanagan and granddaughter Siohban Flanagan, both of Spokane, Wash., and by a sister, Teresa Pierson, of Farmington, Conn.