The Passing of Henry N. Flynt Jr.

To the Williams Community,

I am sad to report the death this weekend of Hank Flynt, an institution at Williams and in Williamstown almost from the time of his arrival here as a member of the Class of 1944.

Hank was a real Yankee gentleman: reserved but gracious, polite but playful, humble but widely effective.

To talk with him you’d never know that he was among the architects of the need-based financial aid system that now predominates at colleges such as Williams. His almost 40-year tenure in our financial aid office, which ended in 1988, has helped make possible the educations of countless students, here and elsewhere.

He managed at the same time to coach freshman soccer for two decades and to serve for many years as czar of the Faculty Club Bowling League.

Hank, often with his wife Mary, was also involved with almost every community organization in town. The Williamstown Theatre Festival, the Community Chest, the Historical Museum, the Congregational Church, and Pine Cobble School are among the many groups whose histories he helped shape.

Another of his legacies is Historic Deerfield, which with his father (Class of 1916) he developed and nurtured into a leading center for the appreciation of New England history.

Before graduating from Williams he served in the U.S. Army Air Forces, primarily in the Pacific. He was particularly attentive to veteran students at Williams. He also served for many years on the local draft board, including as chair.

For his remarkable work, the college awarded him a Bicentennial Medal in 1999. With similar gratitude, former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent in 2008 endowed a graduate fellowship in his honor.

We will pass on information about arrangements when they’re known. Meanwhile, our thoughts are with his family.

And we’re buoyed by the indelible image of Hank, bow-tied, pedaling with friends at the head of his bicycle built for six, relishing its history while steering it with a smile toward what lay ahead.


Adam Falk