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403 North Main Street
Hailey, ID 83333
Phone: 208-788-2244
Fax: 208-788-4792
William Flanagan

William John "Bill" Flanagan

Saturday, March 1st, 1941 - Saturday, January 30th, 2021
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William John Flanagan was born March 1st, 1941 in Fairfield, CT into an Irish-Amerian family. His father had a plumbing business which allowed Bill to begin honing his plumbing skills at a young age. A naturally gifted athlete, he played football in high school and was good enough to continue playing at Boston College.

Bill wasn’t one much for rules and convention and he already thought that he was at least funnier than God, so why be beholden to these strict rules about how to live life?

He was drafted into the army and stationed in Germany where he continued to play football. Germany is where he was also introduced to his biggest love, skiing and once he learned to ski, he never looked back.

Upon his discharge from the army, he returned to CT but felt the pull to explore the country. One might be tempted to ask how does a guy from CT get to another state in the US in the late 60's? He rides his bicycle, of course! And so he rode and rode across the United States, ending up in Denver, CO when his money ran out. You can almost picture him riding into Denver and saying, “Whoooaaa, Nelly, to his two-wheeled companion. From Denver, he moved with friends to Aspen where he joined the ski patrol, a job that would prove to be one of his biggest loves and was the first of many ski resorts he blessed with his presence. He survived being fully buried in an avalanche in 1971 and a broken neck a few years later, of course, while skiing. He even won 3rd place in a Warren Miller Hot Dog Contest. While on his break from skiing to heal his broken neck, he met Carol in Boulder, and the two would eventually get married and move to Ketchum in the early 70’s, never to leave.

He joined the Sun Valley Ski Patrol where he would stay for an incredible 41years. In the meantime he worked for Sun Valley Company as a plumber and worked for them in different roles for 50yrs.

Bill and Carol had two children, Annie and Ned, and they opened their own plumbing business that he and Carol managed together. All the while, he worked each winter on the ski patrol.

Bill lived life like few lived life - to the absolute fullest. He made people laugh with his incredibly quick wit and his love of storytelling; endless storytelling. You knew when Bill entered the room because the energy changed; it became warmer and funnier and just better. His smile could make a blind man smile and his Irish singing over the ski patrol radio on St. Patrick’s Day became something everyone looked forward to hearing.

His extroverted nature belied an incredible intellect and he had one of the biggest vocabularies of anyone around. He had a gift of both gab and of language and spoke like a poet, sometimes leaving us scratching our heads but always leaving us laughing. Bill radiated life and energy and had the most incredible work ethic of anyone around. In spite of his numerous join replacements and injuries, he never missed work if he could help it and he hardly ever complained.

The Valley has lost a beacon of light and a love of life; a joie de vivre, as someone said. Bill knew how to LIVE, REALLY LIVE LIFE and his spirit and energy can never be extinguished.

He is survived by his wife, Carol, daughter, Annie and son, Ned, brother Edward Flanagan and sister, Kay Colangelo and countless nieces and nephews.

We are planning a celebration of his incredible life but may have to delay it due to the Pandemic. Bill would not have wanted anyone to get sick celebrating him, and the only thing that Bill enjoyed more than skiing was a really good party.

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Service Details

  • Service

    Cremation under the care of Wood River Chapel
    403 N. Main Street
    HAILEY, ID 83333
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email


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4 trees have been planted in memory of William John "Bill" Flanagan

Posted at 11:00am
So very sorry for the loss of one of my favorite Classmates from The Prep ('59). Bill was one of funniest characters in our Class and his positive approach to everything he did was inspiring. His exploits on the gridiron will always be remembered along with the great relationship he had with Coach Brosley who loved him dearly. His smile was unforgettable as was his jovial spirit. We have lost a wonderful man. May he rest in peace.

Mark Colangelo

Posted at 09:11am
My Uncle Bill had such a profound affect on me that he literally changed my entire outlook on life. Billy would come back East from time to time and it was always a blast but everything changed when my parents sent me to ski with him for a week in Idaho. Sun Valley was better than Disney World and Billy was more fun than Mickey Mouse! Billy taught me that money didn't equate into happiness. He brought me camping, fishing, river rafting, hiking, snow moiling and of course, skiing. In the real mountains, with real men. Man, how many kids get to go up on the lift before the lifts were open to the public and get that untracked, fresh powder all to themselves? How many kids got to ride around the mountain on a snowmobile or sleep in the ski patrol shack overnight on top of Bald Mountain? Even going to Whiskey Jaques', at 12 years old, after a long day of skiing was awesome because Whiskey Jaques' was Cheers and Billy was funnier and cooler than Norm. Everyone who knows Billy knows that if there is a heaven and a god, Billy will be there, sitting right next god, laughing his *&$% off! Thank you Uncle Billy for a lot of laughs and helping me to see what is important in life.

Dave Bell

Posted at 10:18pm
Bill Flanagan (it’s over)

Well, Bill Flanagan our friend so dear
you always said the end was near

You mentioned that truism a time or two
we thought that would apply to others, not you

So many experiences and stories you shared
and attention to details can’t be compared

Oh geez, those Sister of Mercy sounded really mean
can’t beat The Place for a morning danish or dinner cuisine

Serving in the Army for grateful nation
singing Irish ballads to standing ovation

We were fortunate you landed work with the Patrol
it’s workers like you that are its heart and soul

Whether fitting pipes all over the valley
or throwing down the queen o’ spades a ‘la grand finalé

Daily Statesman crossword almost completed
a quick forty winks most certainly needed

You had a knack when to feign hearing impair
holy smokes, burning paper licking at your hair

Never uttering a cross word at others
treating everyone like sisters and brothers

You also forewarned, ‘we’ve sh*t in our mess kit’
some good fun watching you and Ashley’s risqué skits

Thank you, Bill Flanagan, for crossing our paths
we will meet and ski again in the aftermaths
* i


Posted at 09:23pm
One of my favorite memories of my Uncle Bill is one of my first memories of a wedding. My cousin was getting married and my brothers and I were little-ish, which meant that we were supposed to look nice, be quiet and not punch one another. We hated weddings. I remember sitting around a table, minding our own business, uncomfortable, and our Uncle Bill slid into an open seat and gave us each a tiny plastic water pistol filled with water. We squirted it at one another and everyone else. The whole night. I'm named after him and now, 20+ years later, I'm an "Uncle Bill" 4 times (and soon to be 5 times) over. It means a lot to me. I can't wait to give my nieces and nephews water guns at their first weddings. Be well, Uncle Bill; the Charlotte Flanagans are thinking of you and your family. - Will, Lucy & Larkin

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Posted at 09:05pm
With love, Larkin
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