Dennis Walter Flagler

GLENDALE, Ariz. — Dennis Flagler was a “happy, outgoing” man, who would “always greet you with a smile,” said his sister, Debra Flagler.

Dennis Walter Flagler died on Monday, May 6, 2019. He was 71.

“Den” was born June 8, 1947, to Walter and Marie (née Miller) Flagler of East Berne. His father worked for Albany trucking company Chemical Leaman and his mother was the postmaster of East Berne.

At 7, “life changed as he knew it,” his family wrote in a tribute, “when his little sister Debra Flagler was born.”

Ms. Flagler said that her brother was both the first child and first grandchild in her family. “He was the prince of the palace,” she said with a laugh, “and then, this little sister comes along … So I really rocked [his] world.”

When he was young, his family wrote, he loved to spend time with his grandparents and uncles at his family’s small dairy farm on Cole Hill in East Berne.

In high school, Mr. Flagler worked for his Uncle Bob Miller, at Miller’s Esso gas station on Cherry Avenue in Delmar. “It was a full-service gas station,” Ms. Flagler said, where a customer would ring the bell, and out would come Den to fill up the gas tank and give the windshield a good washing.

Mr. Flagler graduated from Berne-Knox High School in 1966, and, just a few short months later, he received a draft notice for induction to the United States Army.

“It was a big worry for my mother,” Ms. Flagler said of her brother being drafted. “It wasn’t like today; there was no kind of personal communication besides letters.”

Ms. Flagler said that she remembered one picture in particular that her brother had sent, a ship cruising beneath San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and on board were scores soldiers waving at the camera as they passed by.

“He was proud to serve,” Mr. Flagler’s family wrote in a tribute. “After a year of training in Fort Hood, Texas, he shipped out to spend a year in Vietnam.”

When he returned home from Vietnam, Mr. Flagler went to work for the Tobin Packing Company.

Deciding that he wanted a change of scenery, his sister said, Mr. Flagler moved to Glendale, Arizona, and became a diesel mechanic at Lake Shore and Road Machinery.

“My brother was a GM man all the way; Chevy all the way,” Ms. Flagler said of her brother’s love of cars, which began with a ’56 Chevy that he inherited from his grandfather.

When he returned home from Vietnam, his sister said, Mr. Flagler bought a 1969 Chevrolet Chevelle Super Sport. “He was a real ‘gearhead’ in the ’70s,” Ms. Flager said of her brother.

The ’69 Chevelle was followed by a ’70 Chevelle Super Sport, and, after that, Ms. Flagler said that her brother owned a series of Chevrolet trucks. “So everybody might want to sell their stock in GM,” Ms. Flagler said with a laugh.

Ms. Flagler then recounted the story of her brother’s “Chevrolet Chevelle Super Shit.”

“Brent and Brad were coming to stay the night,” Ms. Flagler said of her two young cousins, who, upon arrival at the Flagler home, continued to ask, “Where’s Den? Where’s Den? Where’s the car? Where’s the car?”

Her brother had gone out for the night, Ms. Flagler said.

“God knows what hour he got in,” she said.

“My brother is sound asleep and [Brent and Brad] go running in his room, jump on him, going, ‘Come on, come on. Let’s go see the piece of Super Shit. Let’s go see that piece of Super Shit,” Ms. Flagler said as she laughed, adding that, about 20 years ago, when her brother was home for a family reunion, he was standing in the backyard when he heard the rumble of a muscle car coming down the road.

“Brent went and got a Chevelle Super Sport, exactly like my brother’s,” Ms. Flagler said, except now, “It was a classic.”

“After settling down, he was very proud of the arrival of his daughters, Regina and Christina Flagler,” Mr. Flagler’s family wrote in a tribute.

Ms. Flagler said that her brother was a doting father.

When his grandchildren, Ryleigh and Alexander, were born, his family wrote that Mr. Flagler proved this saying to be true: “The only thing better than having children is having grandchildren.”

“He loved going to Ryleigh’s softball games and was a proud season-ticket holder for the Arizona Coyotes ice hockey team where he always howled loud and proud,” Mr. Flagler’s family wrote in a tribute. “Dennis will be missed dearly but now he’s with his parents telling stories about his grandkids.”

****

Along with his sister, children, and grandchildren, Dennis Walter Flagler is survived by his Aunt Pat Miller of Albany; his Aunt Linda Miller of East Berne; his niece, Tracy Williams, of Charlotte, North Carolina; and many cousins.

His nephew, Michael Williams, died before him as did his uncles, Kenneth Miller and Robert Miller.

“Since a part of Den always remained in East Berne, a celebration of life will be held this summer in East Berne,” his family wrote. “Den loved dogs and was proud of serving his country, so we feel he would appreciate donations to Paws of War, 127 Smithtown Blvd., Suite 1, Nesconset, NY 11767.

“This company trains and places shelter dogs to serve and provide support to U.S. military veterans who are suffering from the emotional effects of war.  Memorial Day is coming, please display your flag in honor of all the soldiers who did not come home.”

— Sean Mulkerrin

More Obituaries

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    He was born in Poughkeepsie on Jan. 3, 1946, a son of Marian and Gerald Flewelling. He moved to Delmar in 1957.

  • ALTAMONT — Jacqueline R. “Jackie” Warner was a woman of constancy.

  • BERNE — Ray M. Porter, a sportsman and devoted caretaker who lived in Berne, died on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. He was 66. 

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