Annabel died peacefully at home on Friday January 4, 2019. She was a beloved parent, friend and neighbor, and while we are sincerely grateful that she was blessed with over 100 years of good health, we will miss her terribly. Her kind heart and thoughtfulness were widely known, and we hope that we can honor her by example as we move forward with life without her.
Annabel was born in Sunset Park, Brooklyn to Norwegian (Arendal) parents Martha Nelson (b.1885) and Torje Midtbo (b.1879) who immigrated to New York in 1903 and 1898 respectively. She had two brothers, Harold (Ella, and their children Glen, Phyllis, Larry, Chris and Ken); and Earling (Ethel and their children Warren and Judy). Married to Jerome Patrick Flynn in 1943, they had six children: Thomas (Ofelia Zuniga Rivas); Peggy (John Kelly); Dennis; John (d.1953); Anne (James Gottselig); and Peter (Sheila Pettersen). Annabel was blessed with six grandchildren: Alyson Kelly (Kirk Bamford); Sereane Watkins-Flynn (Andrae Sanchez); Damion Watkins (Catherine Mer); Kathleen Kelly (Dave O’Connor); Flynn Gottselig; Sean Flynn; Sarah Flynn; and three great grandchildren: Jack and Annabel Bamford; and Margaret (Maggie) O’Connor.
Annabel attended P.S. 169 graduating in 1932, and graduated from Manual Training High School in 1936. She completed her formal education at the YWCA Secretarial School in 1937. Annabel worked at Morgan Guaranty Trust from 1937-1946 where she met her future husband Jerome Patrick Flynn. They were married in 1943, and Annabel moved to the Flynn family home on 16th Street when Jerome was discharged from the U.S. Army. Jerome’s brothers, Dinny and Frank, both Xaverian brothers by vocation, spent summer vacations at the house and were treated to Annabel’s excellent cooking! In addition to raising her children, Annabel worked as a medical secretary for Holy Family Home from 1969-1993. She had fond memories of visits by Dr. Oliver Sachs who was conducting research there.
Few New York residents spend an entire one hundred years living within a twenty-six block rectangle of this enormous city. Annabel’s stories of Brooklyn were extensive and detailed, and the Brooklyn Historical Society recorded a formal life history with her in May 2018.
The family would like to extend special thanks to Jackie Cruz for over three decades of hair do’s and friendship; Dennis Flynn for his loyal weekend visits and companionship; and the dedicated home health aides (Adama Doumbaye and Rookmin Gittens) who cared for Annabel in the last years of her very long life. And lastly to Phyllis Zingleman whose regular phone calls and letters brought so much joy.
In lieu of flowers, donations on Annabel’s behalf can be made to:
C.H.I.P.S. (Community Help in Park Slope) http://chipsonline.org/donate/ 200 4th Ave., Brooklyn, NY 11217-3180 (718) 237-2962
Trinity Lutheran Church https://www.trinitybrooklyn.org 411 46th St, Brooklyn, NY 11220 (718) 854-6040