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Leaving a legacy

Leaving a legacy

’60s alums’ estate gift lets them live on

The legacy of Norm, ’64 & ’66, and Susan, ’63, Flynn will live on for education students where it all began, at UWL.

Posted 1:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 18, 2023

The two alums met during college. They both started their careers as English teachers in La Crosse. Eventually, they went on to become an influential national realtor and top Madison school administrator. Now, they’ll be remembered where it all began: UW-La Crosse.

Norman and Susan Flynn, who both died in 2021, have left a very generous portion of their estate to help other students starting out their careers in education at UWL. It’s an action that exhibits the deep caring they had for seeing others succeed.

“Norm,” who earned a bachelor’s degree in ’64 and a master’s in ’66, taught at La Crosse Aquinas before moving to the Madison area in 1967. He was a speech teacher and award-winning debate coach at Monona Grove High School until leaving the profession to enter real estate in 1970. 

He founded Norman D. Flynn Associates in Madison in 1978. He progressed quickly in the field, serving as president of the Greater Madison Board of Realtors, president of the Wisconsin Realtors Association and, eventually, president of the National Association of Realtors. 

Norm also set his sights overseas, becoming a founding member, president and CEO of the International Real Property Foundation based in Chicago. He traveled worldwide to help establish free market real estate in emerging markets through education, development of real estate standards and practices, along with building professional associations in dozens of countries across Europe, Asia and Africa. 

Awarded the UWL Maurice O. Graff Distinguished Alumnus Award in 1990, Norm was designated one of the 25 most influential people in real estate by “Realtor” magazine in 2004. He died June 4, 2021, at age 79.

Susan graduated from Wisconsin Rapids Assumption High School as salutatorian and was one of the first in her family to pursue an undergraduate degree. She earned a bachelor’s degree in ’63 and taught at La Crosse Aquinas and Winnequah Middle School. 

After earning a master’s degree at UW-Madison, she was a counselor at Madison West and LaFollette high schools. She earned a doctorate in 1986 from UW-Madison while working full time and raising three children.

Eventually, Susan took a leadership role in the Madison School District to supervise school counselors. By the time she retired, she had dedicated more than 50 years to education.

Throughout her career, Susan was active in their parish, Immaculate Heart of Mary, as well as Neumann Club, Jaycees and the Wisconsin School Counselor Association. She influenced thousands of students and other educators, along with encouraging education, travel and good stewardship. She died Sept. 24, 2021, at age 80.

With their generous estate gift, the Flynn’s legacy will live on for education students where it all began: UW-La Crosse.


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