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Thomas Flaherty
B: 1939-09-27
D: 2019-09-04
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Flaherty, Thomas
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925 S 27th Street
BILLINGS, MT 59101
Phone: 406-245-6427
Fax: 406-259-3558
Thomas Flaherty

Thomas James Flaherty

Wednesday, September 27th, 1939 - Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
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Obituary

Thomas James Flaherty died peacefully on September 4, 2019 at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings, Montana after suffering a traumatic brain injury in early June.
Tom was born September 27, 1939 in Billings and grew up in Red Lodge graduating from Red Lodge High School in 1957. In 1962 he received a degree in journalism from the University of Montana.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years Carolyn (Lehr) Flaherty, daughter Mary Teresa, son Dr. Michael Thomas Ph.D. (Nan), sister Mary (Gary) Chouinard, niece Staci, and nephew Chad.
He is preceded in death by his father Joseph Thomas, mother Dorothea Virginia (Monahan) and brother John Joseph.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius X Church in Billings at 11 am on Wednesday, September 18 located at 18th and Broadwater followed by lunch in the parish center. Interment of the urn will take place at a later date in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where Tom and Carolyn resided from 1971 to 2000 and where their children currently reside.
Tom was an accomplished journalist with a focus on sports, most notably baseball, and was the president of the Baseball Writers of America in 1982 and served as the Masters of Ceremony for the 1982 Baseball Hall of Fame induction of Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson. During his career, Tom was employed at the Montana Standard, the Billings Gazette, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Milwaukee Journal, and ultimately the Journal Sentinel. In addition, he freelanced for the Sporting News and Baseball Digest among other publications. In 2000 Tom, along with co-author Jim Ksincski, published Jocks and Socks: Inside Stories from a Major-League Locker Room published by McGraw Hill.
Tom was a passionate guitar afficiando and played a number of styles including those patterned after Chet Atkins, Joe Pass, and bluegrass flatpicking. His dedication to guitar music was an avocation instilled in his children Teresa and Michael. Upon retirement in 2000 Tom and Carolyn returned to Red Lodge where he was civically active in the Red Lodge Lions Club, BareTooth Cupboards and contributed a column for the Carbon County News entitled “You Can Go Home Again.” He greatly enjoyed playing his guitar and singing with the music group at St. Agnes Church.
Memorials in Tom’s name can be sent to the University of Montana Foundation School of Journalism, PO Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807.
Tom’s family extends its gratitude to St. Vincent Healthcare, New Hope Rehabilitation, Avantara Billings, The Springs at Grand Park, Stillwater Hospice and all caregivers who provide this important work to patients and their families.
Condolences may be shared online at www.smithfuneralchapels.com.
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Service Details

  • Service

    Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 | 11:00am
    When
    Wednesday, September 18th, 2019 11:00am
    Location
    St. Pius X Catholic Church
    Address
    717 18th Street West
    BILLINGS, MT 59101
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Officiant
    Fr. Greg Staudinger
  • Reception

    Location
    St. Pius X Catholic Church
    Address
    717 18th Street West
    BILLINGS, MT 59102
    Get Directions: View Map | Text | Email
    Following the Mass

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MV

Mitzi Vorachek

Posted at 04:33pm
Dear Carolyn, Teresa, and Michael--Jim and I were so sorry to hear of Tom's death. Carolyn and Tom were some of the first people we met when we moved to Red Lodge, and we have fond memories of dinners and social functions with you in the early days. Tom was a terrific columnist for the Carbon County News with his memories of Red Lodge and his wonderful way of writing. One of the many great things he did in Red Lodge was interview and facilitate a panel of daughters and sons of miners killed in the Smith Mine. It's part of the oral history archives in our museum and stands out as an incredibly important piece of our history. We give thanks for Tom's presence here, and mourn his death. Please know, Carolyn, that you are in our hearts as you grieve for Tom.
BG

Becky Goodman

Posted at 12:51pm
Dear Carolyn and Family
We were so sadden by the sudden loss of Tom.
You both were so good to a lot of things in Red Lodge
Our thoughts are with you at this time.
Mike and Becky Goodman
Sarasota, Fl
DW

Dean Witter

Posted at 05:25am
My deepest condolences to all of you in the Flaherty family, as well as his friends. I never met Tom but I want you to know that he was a singular inspiration to me as a kid growing up in Wausau, Wisconsin. He is the reason I grew up wanting to become a sportswriter. If I couldn't be Robin Yount (dream #1), I wanted to be Tom Flaherty. In my eyes, as a 12-year-old during the Brewers' World Series season in 1982, he was a celebrity and had the best job in the world. And maybe if I was lucky I'd someday be good enough to be a Brewers beat writer, too. Tom's work turned this baseball-addicted Wausau kid into an avid newspaper reader. While I was a paperboy for the local paper, I'd do whatever I could to get my hands on a Milwaukee Journal to read Tom's stories (and clip them to save and study in an album). I went on to a 28+-year career in journalism at four daily newspapers, the first 13 years of which were spent working in sports, most of it covering high school teams, but also an occasional Brewers series. Whenever I'd set foot in the press box at County Stadium, I would secretly pinch myself and think about Tom, and revel in my good fortune to be inside the same press box where he once churned out stories that riveted me. I wish I had the chance to meet him and thank him in person. Unfortunately, I never did during my own career, which didn't come anywhere near measuring up to his, obviously, but was still an absolute joy and labor of love. Tom was a real credit to the profession and I sought out this obituary so I could share with you how his work inspired me and unlocked a passion that helped me find my own path in life. Though I don't know if it was the case with your family, I do know the demands of a Major League Baseball beat writer can be awfully taxing on a family life. Thank you for sharing him with the hundreds of thousands of readers of Wisconsin, like me. I hope my story brings you a brief moment of peace and pride at this difficult time as you cope with your deep personal loss. You'll be in my thoughts and prayers.
MG

Michael Gauger

Posted at 09:54am
I’m sorry to hear of Tom’s death. I had the pleasure of working with him at The Milwaukee Journal,for which he was a terrific sportswriter. My condolences to his family.
M

Mrachek

Posted at 08:11am
Carolyn and family..we were surprised and saddened to hear of Tom's death,,,,we are on an extended road trip to the East coast and won't be able to attend his service...
I always enjoyed talking with him and hearing about his baseball days...I especially liked his autographed baseballs and the stories behind the signings ....he was a great guy and I will miss him...Denny
Carolyn, I loved being part of the music group with Tom. He was so faithful to practice and keep us all in line. You are in our hearts and prayers for God's healing touch. Love, Sandy

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