Walter John Flannery was born in Wagner, South Dakota, U.S.A. on 1st September 1917; the son of Bert and Nora (née Murray) Flannery; with brothers Kenneth, Robert, Norman, William, Ralph and Thomas. He graduated from Yankton College in Yankton, South Dakota, with an undergraduate degree, and then earned a Masters degree in Education from the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota.
He married Grace E. Gilkerson on 22nd August 1940, and the couple had eleven children: Inez (Weinheimer), Norma (Shuh), Sandra (Davoux), James, William, Margaret (Kraft), Kathleen (Zannoni), Ralph, Mark, Tim and Ken. During World War II, they moved to Los Angeles, California, where he worked for Lockheed Aircraft building fighter aircraft. In 1945, they moved to Pierre, South Dakota.
Walt was long time teacher and coach at Riggs High School in Pierre, and later a guidance counselor for the Pierre School District for many years.
Walt died on 9th September 1977, and is buried in the Riverside Cemetery in Pierre.
The "Walt Flannery Award" was named in his honour, and is presented annually by the South Dakota School Counselor Association (SDSCA) for meritorious long service (fifteen years or more).
[his portrait is illustrated above; courtesy of his son Bill Flannery]