Volume 55, Number 16 December 3, 2007
Lois P. Flynne, professor emerita of social science, died in an automobile accident in Blacksburg, Va., on Sept. 8, along with one of her three beloved Rottweilers. She was 73 years old.
Flynne was a member of the faculty at SF State from 1969 to 1999. She completed her undergraduate work in classics at the University of Melbourne; then earned a doctorate in communications at Syracuse University.
Flynne was a pioneer in information technology. She became an expert in the programming languages LISP and LOGO and, while on leave from teaching, worked as an executive in the computer industry, running training programs in these languages. She specialized in giving classes to young women so that the computer world would not be a solely male province. On campus, Flynne taught computer classes for faculty and one of the first classes on the social analysis of homosexuality. In her last decade of teaching she focused on the interdisciplinary field of cognitive science.
Flynne was deeply devoted to animals. She established and ran several animal sanctuaries, saving many Rottweilers, pigs, turkeys, donkeys, cows and other animals from euthanasia. She gave every animal a name, and they responded to her calls. At SF State she organized a major conference on Animal Rights with Caesar Chavez as the keynote speaker. He spoke on the "Virtues of Vegetarianism."
Flynne is survived by a close group of friends in Virginia. Professor Emeritus Stanley Bailis says of Flynne, "I treasured her incredible mind, imagination, spirit and capacity for friendship." Professor Emeritus Ray Miller remembers her endearing combination of "utmost caring" and spirited denunciations of the abusers of the world. "I am sure that if friends wanted to do something to remember her, Lois would have said, 'Be kind to animals.'"
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