Ruth Ann Flanagan, 87, died March 5 at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital surrounded by three generations of her beloved family. The matriarch of the Singing Flanagans family, three of her granddaughters “sang her out” with Byelow, a lullabye composed by Ruth Ann and sung to all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Ruth Ann was born on Nantucket to the late Daniel J. and Ruth M. (Burchell) Murphy. She and her family moved to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii in September of 1941 when her father Chief Daniel J. Murphy was transferred to be in charge of communications at the naval base. Surviving the attack on December 7, 1941, Ruth Ann and her mother and brother moved back to Nantucket. A woman of kindness and peace, Ruth Ann always saw and believed the best in people. The Murphy family never held any animosity nor unforgiveness toward the Japanese people who they believed were “just following orders.” Ruth Ann graduated from Nantucket High School in 1946.
Ruth Ann was a devoted wife and mother. She was an artist who created incredible works of art in paint, textiles and clay. She enjoyed quilting and crocheting items for her family. Ruth was an accomplished singer, and gave a solo concert at the Unitarian Church in 1961. She and her husband Charles appeared in many plays at the Straight Wharf Theater and had leading roles in many productions such as Brigadoon and The Mikado. Music was a central theme for the Flanagan family, and Charles and Ruth Ann encouraged their children to sing in harmony on long car trips. They were privileged to sing together at St. Mary’s Church and at so many Island events. The family gave a concert at the Unitarian Church in the summer of 1997.
She was predeceased by her husband Charles E. Flanagan, Sr., her son Charles E. Flanagan, Jr.. her grandson Josiah P. Stover, her siblings Mary Elizabeth Nelson and Daniel J. Murphy, Jr., her nephew James C. Nelson, Jr. and her great-nephew Michael Manville.
She is survived by her children Catherine and John Stover, Daniel and Janet Flanagan, and Elizabeth Flanagan, her nine grandchildren Elijah Stover, Isaiah Stover, Dorothy Stover, AdaRuth (Stover) and Nate Waig, and Robin (Bowman) and Jared Strang, all of Nantucket, Perry (Stover) and Don Wotring of Harvard, MA, Cora Stover and Socrates Garcia of New Haven, CT and Nantucket, Jason Flanagan of Boston, Erin (Flanagan) and Paul Roberts of Church Crookham, Hampshire, England, and ten great-grandchildren. Also surviving are her brother-in-law and sister-in-law Robert and Mary Flanagan of Port Washington, NY and Nantucket, her niece Carol (Nelson) Manville of Nantucket, her “adopted children” Jerry and Suzanne Daub of Nantucket, Stephen Geoffrey of New York and many nieces, nephews and cousins. She was a communicant of St. Mary’s Church, a member of the Wharf Rat Club, and a past member of St. Mary’s Guild, the Angler’s Club, the Nantucket Community Chorus, and the Nantucket Rug Club.
A wake service will be held at St. Mary’s Church, Federal Street, on Friday at 4 PM with visitation until 6 PM. Her funeral Mass will be at Noon on Saturday with burial immediately following at St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Nantucket Funeral Home Building Fund, P.O. Box 3154, Nantucket, MA 02554.