Feb. 2, 2021, By Michael Dorgan
Paul Flynn, a Sunnyside resident and owner of Flynn’s Garden Inn, died unexpectedly Sunday. He was 66.
Flynn was a popular and well-liked bar owner who operated his traditional Irish-American pub, located at 46-08 Skillman Ave., since 2010. Prior to that, he owned Flynn’s Inn on Queens Boulevard, which was located between 43rd and 44th Street.
His death was formally announced by his family on the pub’s Facebook page Monday.
“It is with very heavy hearts that we join you all… to mourn the loss of our dad and brother, the great Paul Flynn,” the post reads.
“We are overwhelmed with the outpouring of love for him and the knowledge that he was important to the lives of so many people.”
Later on Monday, the family revealed that Flynn suffered a pulmonary embolism due to a blood clot that started in his leg.
“Paul woke up and began to get ready for work but never made it out of the house. It appeared that after showering, he laid down, and passed away peacefully in his bed,” the post reads.
Flynn’s death came as a shock to his family and patrons of the bar, many of whom shared close relationships with him and held him in high regard.
“We are gutted, it’s a big, big blow,” said Mike Novak, a Sunnyside resident and a regular at Flynn’s Garden Inn.
“He would give you the shirt off his back and never had a cross word to say, a real gentleman. We are devastated and we are all going to miss him.”
Flynn, who was of Irish ancestry but hailed from England, created a bar that was warm and friendly where everyone was welcome and treated equally, Novak said.
“It didn’t matter who you were or what you did, it was who you were as a person that mattered,” he said.
Novak noted that Flynn was a fervent Everton soccer fan and that the bar has traditionally been a big hangout for sports fans and retired Sunnysiders. The bar has also hosted Irish step dancing performances, local troupes and kids’ parties, Novak said.
In 2013 the bar was the setting for a short movie called “The Black Knights of Skillman.” The film was directed by Sunnyside resident Tommy Turner and Flynn appeared behind the bar.
The pub is also known for its rear garden that Flynn took great care of, Novak said. He said that Flynn often replenished the area with fresh flowers and regulars would often lend him a hand.
Georgia Benardos, another customer of the bar, said that patrons treated the place as if it were an extension of their own homes, such was their fondness for Flynn.
“He created something special—a welcoming space where an entire community of disparate folks could grow and thrive and build close friendships,” Benardos said.
“Paul touched so many with his wit, charm and easy-going kindness… his sudden loss is one that is felt deeply by so many in Sunnyside.”
Flynn is survived by his brother, Kevin, and two children, Stephanie and Jack.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.