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James C. "Jim" Flanagan '51 March 13, 2017 10:53 AM updated: March 13, 2017 10:54 AM

Published in Corpus-Christi Caller-Times on Mar. 12, 2017

James Camillo Keuchler Flanagan(1921 - 2017)
James Camillo Keuchler Flanagan

Uvalde, TX

James Camillo Keuchler Flanagan, widely known as Jim, died February 19, 2017 in Uvalde, Texas. He was 95. Jim remained fiercely independent until his recent fall nine days earlier.

Jim was born on October 22, 1921. Jim was a fifth generation Texan. The Flanagan family served Texas in many ways as it transitioned from a colony to a republic to a state. His forefathers were courageous in promoting rights for all. Jim continued these battles to make the world a better place as a World War II veteran, the engineer for Dr. Hector P. Garcia's medical clinic, and as a NSF grant professor who introduced engineering to middle school girls. Born and raised in Crystal City, Texas, he was the eldest child of Nellie Williams and John Conklin Flanagan.

Jim graduated from Crystal City High School in 1939. He enlisted in the army where he was deployed to the Philippines. Jim used the GI Bill to earn a Bachelor of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Texas A&M, Class of 1951. While at A&M, Jim met Mary Beth Henderson, a research chemist. They first made their home in Houston, Texas, where Jim was a super cargo tugboat captain. Mary Beth and Jim settled in Corpus Christi, Texas, where they raised their family of three children: Milton, Janet, and John. Jim also worked for the Naval Air Station Training Command and taught at Del Mar College prior to opening his private engineering consulting firm.

Jim's engineering career spanned over five decades. As an expert-witness, Jim impacted safety in our everyday lives. In litigation against American car manufacturers, he established how and why accidents with failing motor mounts occurred. In his medical device work, he became an expert in the standardization of the connection of conductive tubing. Jim's testimonies led to establishing the legal definition of "sharpness," of medical needles. After a car accident at a fast food restaurant, a fried-chicken fast food company asked Jim how to prevent such accidents. Jim designed concrete pillars painted yellow for the exterior of their restaurants throughout the United States. In his childhood home of Zavala County, his engineering projects included bringing clean water and waste management to neighborhoods.

Jim was appointed by three successive governors to the Governor's Committee for Windstorm Insurance Premiums. This committee's work on a revised windstorm code led to reduced insurance premiums while establishing higher quality construction regulations now required for all homes and buildings built on the Gulf Coast.

During the 1960s, Jim worked with the United States Department of State in India and Bangladesh. This education work took him to universities to work in partnerships with Indian engineering faculties. Together, they established refrigeration pedagogies for the engineering students. During the 1980s, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers appointed him to a committee to study team-teaching at accredited engineering universities in the United States.

Jim was a rancher his entire life, first raising registered Brahma cattle and later Beefmasters. He was an accomplished and respected naturist, outdoorsman, hunter and fisherman. All who knew Jim understood his deep love of traveling and camping with his family. His grandchildren, friends and their children count these memories as important ones in their lives.

Jim is survived by his daughter Janet Marie Flanagan Soller and her husband Bill Soller (Sugar Land), his son John Eric Flanagan and his wife Janie Ramirez Flanagan (Crystal City). His grandchildren include Adam Soller and his wife Aimee Picard Soller (Arlington, VA), Eric Soller (New York), Kyle Soller and his wife Phoebe Fox (London), James Soller (New York), William Soller (Georgetown, TX), Elyse Ramirez (Crystal City), and Joshua Ramirez (San Antonio), and his great-grandson, Charles Henry Soller.

Jim was predeceased in death by his parents Nellie Williams and John Flanagan, his beloved wife, Mary Beth Henderson Flanagan, his son, Milton Neal Flanagan, his sister Nancy Jane Flanagan, his brother John Flanagan, and his niece, Nancy Flanagan Hartke.

Funeral Services with military honors will be held Thursday, May 4, 2017 at 11:00 am at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery, 1520 Harry Wurzbach Rd, San Antonio, Texas. Condolences may be sent to his family at James C. Flanagan, PO Box 724, Crystal City, Texas 78839. In lieu of flowers and gifts, the family asks you to consider a donation to the James Camillo Flanagan Memorial Scholarship Fund; Attn: Ana Guevara, Crystal City High School 805 E Crockett, Crystal City, Texas 78839.

Thoughts from his grandchildren summarize his legacy: Jim taught us to seek knowledge, to love words and language, to discern when to be a leader and when to be a tag-a-long, and to respect all people and the land.

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