Wednesday, February 01, 2012

Leo H. S. Retires # 91 Football Jersey Don Flynn and Neighborhood Says Goodbye to a Landmark

Leo 58, St. Ignatius 54 was the final score of the varsity basketball game last night in Leo's iconic Brother Finch Gym (3rd Floor).

The St. Ignatius Freshman and Sophomore teams soundly beat our Leo Lions by 9 points apiece, but the gents of the varsity saved Leo from a an Iggy Sweep.

They had help from the spirit of # 91 Donald F. Flynn, Class of 1957. Don Flynn went home to Christ in October after decades of powerful support to his teammate Bob Foster and Leo High School. Don Flynn was a self-made mega-millionaire, who never forgot that he was a poor kid from St. Kilian's Parish.

On the football fields of Shewbridge and those defended by Mount Carmel, St. George, St. Rita, Fenwick, Mendel, and before a crowd of tens of thousands of fans in Soldier Field, Don Flynn scared the livers out of scores of Catholic and public school football players.

With Don Flynn's passing, Leo marked the passing of great heart and meaty set of hands always ready to give more and more. Therefore, before the start of the varsity game, Leo President Dan McGrath paid tribute to Don's brother Bob, his son Kevin and his wife Susan and his four grandchildren, and Don's faithful and long-time secretary and friend Yvonne Sperandeo, as well as thirty plus friends and family members and permanently retired Leo football jersey number 91.

Having bested the Lions at the lower levels, St. Ignatius gave the varsity a contest Don Flynn would be proud of - taking an early lead in the double digits. By the start of third quarter, the Lions methodically chipped away at those numbers and gave Leo and the Flynn family a well-earned victory.

East of Leo, the old Walgreens Building on the south east corner of 79th & Halsted collapsed onto Halsted. Four people were injured, but no loss of life, thanks be to God. The men and women of the Chicago Police Department's 6th District are keeping people safe as they always do.

79th Street has changed since the early 1900's when that beautiful terra cotta bedecked building dominated the corner - Franks Department store was torn down years ago. Leo helped the city of Chicago take down a bock of abandoned buildings between Sangamon and Morgan Streets. St. Leo Parish was closed and a treatment center for veterans stands under the Lombardy bell tower of the church. The Chapel of St. Leo in Leo High School that once hosted the over-flow crowd of Catholic worshippers is now the cafeteria for Leo students who dine under a crystal chandelier that once loomed above the altar with the north wall allowing light through stained glass windows dedicated to Our Lady.

The mission remains the same. Leo students, like Don Flynn, have the opportunity to rise above circumstances and challenges.

Things disappear and sometimes collapse. The spirit of Catholic values are here to stay.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks to white flight suburbanites, all of this was lost:
-Franks Dept. Store
-Capitol Theater
-Burt's Clothing store
-HFC (Household finance)
-Jupiter Stores (former KMart, Kresskees)
-House of Lum Chinese Food
-Armour's Grocery Store
-Carl Sale's Wholesale
-Russnicks Furniture store
-Florshiems shoes