history of Arizona's physicians is rich in mystery,
controversy, innovation and pride. Since the
settlers first inhabited the territory, physicians
have been a part of Arizona's legacy. They helped
shape the culture of this Great State and set
the standard for the quality of care delivered
to its citizens. The Physicians of Interest
page on this website highlights the historical
work of Arizona's physicians and the roles they
played while shaping the State's future. The
biography of a new physician will be added each
month and in time, the page will represent a
patchwork of the names and faces that brought
medicine in Arizona to life.
Richard O. Flynn, M.D.
Many physicians have fought on the battlegrounds of war. Others devote their lives to political fights in the legislature. Richard O. Flynn, M.D., a native Arizonan, fought in both arenas. As a democrat turned moderate republican, Dr. Flynn idolized republican Representative Sam Steiger for his "say whatever he wants whenever he wants" attitude.
Making it to medical school was a just a step along the path to achievement after the turmoil of the WWII. Prior to enrollment, Dr. Flynn served a tour of duty with the 101st Airborne Division's famous Screaming Eagles in Europe from 1943-1946. When the 101st Airborne Division was activated August 16, 1942, Major General William C. Lee observed, "The 101st...has no history, but it has a rendezvous with destiny." After 214 days in combat, the Division proved itself as a driving force into Germany and to the end of the war.
Following graduation from the University of Virginia Medical School in 1952, Dr. Flynn returned to Arizona for an internship and residency at Phoenix Memorial and Maricopa County Hospitals and later, began a family practice career in Tempe.
Dr. Flynn soon positioned himself as both a professional and community leader. He is a member and past President of the Arizona Medical Association (1968-1969) and a member and past President of the Maricopa County Medical Society (mid 1960s). He also served as past President of the Arizona Academy of Family Physicians, as a member of the Arizona Thoracic Society and as a member of the Arizona TB Association. Dr. Flynn was a former member of the Tempe City Council and past President of the Tempe Chamber of Commerce.
In 1974, Dr. Flynn was elected to the Arizona Legislature and served a two-year term in the House of Representatives. When asked about the approximately 25%-30% income loss he incurred after leaving his practice to become a Legislator, he said, "You run for office because you like it; there's no other earthly reason to do it." Dr. Flynn further insisted that legislative duties are just as important as practicing medicine.
Dr. Flynn retired from practice in November 1996. He passed away in December 2003.