Cover photo for Joseph Patrick Flanagan, Jr.'s Obituary
Joseph Patrick Flanagan, Jr. Profile Photo
1924 Joseph Patrick Flanagan, Jr. 2023

Joseph Patrick Flanagan, Jr.

September 18, 1924 — November 18, 2023

Joseph P. Flanagan, Jr. of Lafayette Hill, PA passed away peacefully in his sleep on 11/18/23 at the age of 99. A 1946 graduate of the US Naval Academy and Navy veteran whose service included a mission to Antarctica, Joe worked as a lawyer for more than 50 years, helping to establish the Public Finance department of the Philadelphia law firm of Ballard Spahr, Andrews & Ingersoll, LLP.  Joe led the department for over 25 years to become one of the major municipal securities firms in the country. Throughout his life, he was both a leader and team player and was way ahead of his time embracing the values of diversity, equity and inclusion that have now become increasing important in the workplace. 


Born in Wilkes-Barre, PA on Sept. 18, 1924, Joe was the son of  Grace Blewitt and Joseph P. Flanagan, Sr.  He attended St. Boniface School and Wyoming Seminary in Kingston, PA where he was editor of the student newspaper and varsity wrestling letterman. 


In 1942 Joe began his college studies at Princeton University, later transferring to the US Naval Academy during the final years of WWII. As a Midshipman at USNA, Joe was a member of the Class of 1947, one of the most illustrious in its history, producing a US President and a record number of admiralsand other top brass. Even in this august group, Joe distinguished himself as a “six-striper” meaning he was selected for a semester-long position of brigade commander, the highest leadership within the brigade. Upon graduation, Joe  

was one of a select few in his class receiving special commendation for his “outstanding officer-like qualities.”


Joe was always generous in offering his friendship and support to his Midshipmen cohorts. One relationship of note was with Wesley A. Brown, who became the first Black Midshipman to graduate from the Academy and who paved the way for racial integration of the USNA.


Following his graduation Joe served in the USS Philippine Sea CV-47, a ship that made a voyage to the South Polar region in an operation headed by Admiral Richard Byrd to establish the Antarctic research base known as Little America IV. Joe later served in the USS Tanager, AM385 until he resigned from the Navy to attend law school. 


In 1950, Joe married Mary Elizabeth (Liz) Mayock, also a Wilkes-Barre native and graduate of Wyoming Seminary, a union that lasted 64 years until her death in 2014. Joe and Liz had two children, Maureen Elizabeth, born in 1951 and Joseph Patrick Flanagan lll, born 1953. 


In 1952 Joe graduated from University of Pennsylvania Law School where he was editor-in-chief of the law review. He was hired at Ballard soon after and started establishing its Public Finance department, a new practice area handling municipal bonds and government securities.  This department became one of the major municipal securities firms in the country, ranking in the top tier for bond counseling, underwriting and tax.  

Joe was a master at mentoring associates, building relationships  and motivating and encouraging those he worked with. Said one BSAI colleague, “Joe knew people all over the place. He seemed to know everybody in Philadelphia. People remembered him. Everybody thought very highly of him.”  Associates valued his encouragement and support, and Joe continued to champion those who had been historically excluded from leadership positions. Lila Roomberg, one Ballard attorney he supervised and supported, became the firm’s first female partner. 

Even as he practiced law, Joe never left his Naval training behind. As one colleague said, “He was proud of his service in the Navy. He used naval analogies and metaphors, such as when a deal in trouble was headed for ‘rocky shoals.’”

Joe’s post-retirement work included arbitrating customer disputes for the National Association of Securities Dealers and serving on nonprofit boards including the Pennsylvania Bar Institute and The John Bartram Association, an organization to perpetuate the memory of one of America’s first horticulturists.




A resident of Flourtown, PA for more than 50 years, Joe 

cultivated a beautiful four-acre lot, creating showpiece gardens and planting edible crops. He also maintained an apple orchard, kept several colonies of honeybees and grew many varieties of rhododendrons, winning prizes for several of the specimens he entered in the PHS Flower Show. He was also a member of the Director’s Guild at the Morris Arboretum where he and his wife helped make possible the construction of the popular Out on a Limb exhibit. 


A natural athlete, Joe played tennis, golfed, and figure skated. He was a member of the Wissahickon Skating Club since its founding in the 1950s and served as its President in the 1970s. He particularly enjoyed doing foxtrots and waltzes at the Club’s Sunday dance sessions and encouraged family and friends to learn to skate. One such neighborhood family friend, Mike Richter, went on to become a star goalie for the New York Rangers. 


As sailing was a lifelong passion, harkening back to his Navy days, Joe was never far from water. He and his wife owned a home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland where he kept a 35-foot Dickerson sailboat, “The Sea Thistle,” which he enjoyed racing on the Chesapeake Bay. 


Joe and Liz traveled widely and always worked as a team in their common pursuits and support of many cultural organizations in the Philadelphia area: the Morris Arboretum, Philadelphia Orchestra, and Philadelphia Museum of Art, among them.



Joe was a loving husband, father, grandfather and great-great grandfather who is survived by his daughter, Maureen E. Flanagan, grandson Joseph P. Flanagan IV, and great-grandson Jace Flanagan.  His wife, Mary Elizabeth Flanagan, predeceased him in 2014 and his son Joseph P. Flanagan III predeceased him in 2017. His extended family includes a daughter-in-law, Rowena (nee Dunque) Flanagan, her daughters Tatiana Ragone, Tara Limjoco, and Daphne DiFranco and their families; granddaughter-in-law Kristyn Ayers; and Maureen Flanagan’s step-daughters, Laurel Hester, Megan Hester and their families.   

A funeral Mass will be held on Saturday, November 25 at 10am at St. Genevieve Church, 1225 Bethlehem Pike, Flourtown, PA. Relatives and friends are invited to a viewing from 9-10am at the church. Interment will follow at 1pm at St. Mary’s Cemetery in Hanover, PA 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to Plant a Tree or Bartram’s Garden. 




The funeral mass will be live streamed and may be viewed at 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Joseph Patrick Flanagan, Jr., please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

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Saturday, November 25, 2023

9:00 - 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Saturday, November 25, 2023

Starts at 10:00 am (Eastern time)

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Graveside Service

Saturday, November 25, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Eastern time)

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