Doug Flynn 1930-2023

We are sad to report that Douglas Flynn, retired chemistry instructor, passed away earlier this month. Doug started with DVC in 1962 and taught for over 30 years.

Doug’s Obituary Appeared in the East Bay Times on Feb 26, 2023.

Former chemistry instructor, Cheryl Dembe, provides the following comments about her colleague, and obituary and service information is also included below.

Doug was there long before I came (I just found him in a 1962 faculty directory). I was always intrigued that he had once been a park ranger at Zion National Park. He was a valued, principled member of the Chemistry department and always an advocate for students. His quirky humor and unique approach to issues was always appreciated.  He served on the union advocating for faculty.  He always advocated for students, and how they would be affected by departmental decisions.  There was a wonderful, vibrant men’s reading group in the district of administrators and faculty (college presidents, deans, and faculty of wildly diverse areas) that was active for many decades. Doug was a member of that group. Doug was a dear and loyal friend. He will be deeply missed.

Obituary – Douglas Flynn

The world has lost a true Southern gentleman. After a long struggle to recover from a fall, Douglas Flynn passed away on February 18, 2023. He was born to the late Ethel and Homer Flynn in Irvine, Kentucky. An above-average high school student, he excelled in baseball and basketball, earning the nickname “shooter”, and going with his team to the Kentucky State championships in 1948.After high school he joined the United States Air Force and then completed a bachelor’s degree at Eastern Kentucky University and a Masters’ degree at Vanderbilt University on the GI bill. He taught Chemistry at Tennessee Tech and Wilson Community College in Chicago and was a seasonal park ranger for five summers in Zion National Park. The southwest was dear to his heart, a place he visited often. In 1962 he joined the chemistry staff at Diablo Valley College in California, a job he loved for over 32 years where he joyfully interacted with wonderful colleagues and students. During those years he pursued his interests in air pollution and volcanology, using sabbaticals for investigations in these areas. Doug was a man of all-encompassing pursuits. An avid reader he loved history, nature, politics, music. He loved being outdoors, enjoying hiking, camping, climbing, raising race horses. In developing his property in Benicia he learned many building skills: plumbing, heating, and wiring, and enthusiastically rode his tractor, abating weeds and grass. A zealous animal-lover, he insisted that any dog or cat who wandered up must be given a home. Doug loved to travel the world and to visit his roots, crossing the country over 50 times to return to his beloved home town. Preceded in death by his brother Shirley, he leaves behind his wife of 62 years Mary Lou, his children Patrick, Sally, Richard, (Patricia), grandson Orion, his sisters Martha, (Ed), Pauline, and numerous dear nephews. Doug loved life and lived it fully. His family will greatly miss his wonderful smile, his strength, his positive attitude, his sense of humor. Our grief knows no bounds. Remember his message: “Every day is a gift.”

Gifts in his memory may be made to the DVC Student Scholarship Fund, Pleasant Hill, CA. Visitation will be Wednesday starting at 2:00 pm followed by a Vigil service at 6:00 at Passalacqua Funeral Chapel, 901 West Second Street, Benicia. Mass if Christian will be held 11:00 am Thursday at St. Dominic’s Church, 475 East I Street, Benicia. Burial with Military Honors will be held  10:30am Friday at Sacramento Valley National Cemetery


Doug Flynn Remembrance from Karen Long
Doug was a really wonderful colleague in the Chemistry Department at DVC. He was a strong
supporter of students and faculty as well as a terrific (and humorous) teacher. As a devoted board
member of the United Faculty union, he championed changes in working conditions to increase
the faculty’s ability to provide quality education.
His Southern charm slipped into his lectures. I hear in my head one reference to a chemistry
concept, delivered in a preacherly manner, “Now, if you believe…in equilibrium…” And of
course when he referred to the “Good Book”, he held up the chemistry text.
My favorite memory though is in the picture below. (Doug is at the far left near the chalkboard)

This was a flash mob event, way before the
rest of the world got into it. And Doug orchestrated it, in 1987. Doug and I were teaching
classes on the opposite side of the wall at the same time that year. He was teaching the
prerequisite class to mine. On the first day I was describing how molecular motions account for
infrared spectral bands. Then I had the students stand and do some of the types of motions to get
a feel for it – to music. Minutes later there was a loud banging on my door… “What is going on
in there?” He said he’d forgive me if I came in and did it for his class at the end of the semester
when he got to that topic.
So we set up that on the designated day, he would complete his lecture with all the notes still on
the board and he would put a sturdy chair at the door end of the lecture table. At the prearranged
verbal signal in his lecture, 5 minutes from the end of class, I opened his door, blasted “Staying
Alive” on my boombox, and several volunteers from my class rushed in and took over. I’d bet
the students in his class never forgot that.
Great guy and great chemistry instructor!
Karen Long