80 Over Eighty Honoree – Elizabeth Flynn

The story of Elizabeth Flynn was shared by her daughter Erin Flynn. Erin nominated Elizabeth because she has been an active volunteer in Austin’s non-profit community for years. She has always liked being part of innovative and up-coming ideas and has seen many organizations grow significantly over the years. She often reminisces that she can remember when the Austin skyline was just the UT tower and the dome.

Photo by Annie Ray – annieraycreative.com

One of the many non-profits she’s volunteered for is the Austin Writers’ League, and her passion to support artists did not end with volunteering or serving on their board. Even in the early 1980’s, Austin was an expensive place to live for blossoming writers and musicians, so Elizabeth opened her home and effectively became the “Housing Minister” for Austin artists by providing an affordable place for them to develop their talents.

Elizabeth was also an active volunteer with SXSW when it was just in its infancy. On one occasion in the 1980’s, she was the ambassador for a group of classically trained Russian musicians who came to perform during the famed festival. After their time at SXSW and staying in Elizabeth’s home, the group decided not to return to Russia. So, she is also known fondly to that group of musicians as a safe haven from which to defect from the Soviet Union.

Elizabeth was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s 6 years ago, but she didn’t let that stop her from serving. Every Wednesday and Friday she shares her passion for music by providing free beginner piano lessons to under-served children in her neighborhood. She often tells her students when they get frustrated with at difficult piece of music, “Remember, it’s only 5 fingers and 8 notes. Just keep it simple.”


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