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Obituary: Flynn, James Howard “Jim”

Age 78

FLYNN, James Howard “Jim” Died with dignity at home with family at age 78 in Eugene, OR on November 28, 2012 of pancreatic cancer. Jim was born October 6, 1934, in Republic, WA to Howard and Mary (Lydon) Flynn. After graduation from St. Ann’s in 1948, and Gonzaga Prep in 1952, he served in the U.S. Army, graduated from Eastern Washington State College in 1963, and earned a PhD in English Literature from the University of Washington in 1974. After teaching at universities in North Carolina and New York, he became a social scientist with a specialty in environmental studies (University of Kansas). He collaborated with a group of scholars on a multi-year contract to study socioeconomic impacts of nuclear power plants across the U.S. Later, in collaboration with Mountain West (then located in Phoenix, Arizona), Jim formed a multi-disciplinary group of scientists to work with the State of Nevada in opposition to development of Yucca Mountain, Nevada as a high-level nuclear waste repository. This multi-million-dollar contract with Nevada, first with Mountain West, then with Decision Research (Eugene, Oregon), and subsequently with San-Francisco-based Pacific World History Institute (brother Dennis, Director) continued for over twenty years; the result was a successful fight against the U.S. Department of Energy’s attempt to turn Yucca Mountain, NV into the country’s sole nuclear waste repository. In the process, Jim generated an impressive record of scholarly publications (see “A Tribute to Jim Flynn” by Dr. Paul Slovic, President of Decision Research, forthcoming February 2013 issue of Risk Analysis, lead journal in the field). Survivors include wife, C.K. Mertz of Eugene, OR, three daughters, Cecilia “Jean” Flynn of Lewiston, ID, Theresa Najita of Davis, CA, Margaret “Peigi” Barkley of Renton, Wash, and son Patrick of CA; three brothers, Lawrence of Spokane, Dennis of San Francisco, and Terrence Flynn of Seattle; sister Kathleen Flynn of Seattle; five grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren. Grandson, Brandon Flynn, died previously.