John “Reds” Flaherty, 89 years old
3/23/31 - 5/8/20
Husband of the late Jane Gaul Flaherty. Preceded in death by his brothers Patrick and Thomas Flaherty. Survived by his brother Joe Flaherty and six(6) children. Jani Flaherty, Jack (Kate) Flaherty, Nancy (Ron) Flaherty Perrelli, Theresa (Ray) Flaherty Cascella, Mike (Theresa) Flaherty, and Patrick Flaherty. Also survived by 14 adoring grandchildren, Ray, Dana, Bridget, Patrick, Theresa, Jack, Ryan, Danielle, Michael, Ronnie, Nick, Seamus, Colin, and Brendan. Great grandchildren Corey, Will, James, and Alice.
Reds was born in Chicago the eldest of 4 boys. He was loved and admired by all who met him, and just the mention of his name brought a smile to your face and you were immediately ready to share 2 or 3 funny stories about Reds.
His parents were both off the boat from County Galway, Ireland and they moved to Philadelphia when he was 2 or 3 years old to be closer to family.
Reds lived his life in the service of others and for his family. He grew up in West Philadelphia and was a Proud Graduate of Saint Thomas More High School for Boys, Class of 1949. In high school he was All-Catholic in Football and Track as well as Student Body President. He also loved and coached his beloved St. Gregory’s CYO Grade School Team.
After High School he enlisted on The U.S. Army. After his honorable discharge he joined the Philadelphia Police Force. He loved being a policeman and spent 30+ years on the force. He retired in 1984, and then worked another 10+ years as Police Officer for the Philadelphia Public School System.
Reds loved and lived for his family, and expected a hug and a kiss every time you walked in the room. The love of his life was Jane Gaul Flaherty. We lost her in 1995, but Reds wore his wedding ring till his passing this week.
If wealth was measured by love, loyalty, respect, service, admiration, and laughter he was the richest man to ever live. He was kind, compassionate, funny, and the best friend you could ask for. If you met Reds Flaherty, you had a story to share.
Reds moved his growing family to Southwest Philadelphia in the early 1960’s and quickly became an icon of the neighborhood. He was a devout Catholic and was very active with St. Irenaeus/St. Raphael School (SIRS) CYO Programs. He was famous for his cigar smoking on the football sidelines while holding the down marker chain and for hiding his cigars in chain link fence outside of Church during Sunday Mass.
As we all moved to High School, Reds became active with The West Catholic Father’s Club. The lifelong friends he made playing cards, shooting darts, and helping raise money for West Catholic Sports and our local community projects brought him happiness.
After retirement Reds remained active in civic duties. He was a Pennsylvania Delegate for Lodge 5 FOP for many years, a member of The American Legion, and St. Tommy More Alumni Association.
Reds Flaherty told it like it was, and since he was hard of hearing for most of his adult life, when he told you what he was thinking…he told everyone around you as well.
Reds loved the Jersey Shore, the Beach, and sunbathing. Regardless of the location or who was around, if the sun came out, his shirt came off !!!
Reds Flaherty loved his family, Irish Culture, and hanging with retired friends at Hastings and Devine’s Café in Southwest Philly. He would sing The Clancy Brothers, The Wolfe Tones, and all Irish Rebel Music year-round and he might have placed a bet or two on “The Pony’s” along the way.
Reds Flaherty was a great role-model, the life of the party, the best friend and the neighbor you always wanted. He was simply a great man.
Someone once said if you grow up to be half the man your father is then you will go far in life. No truer words were ever spoken.
Our family will hold a Funeral Mass and celebration worthy of the life he lived when this Pandemic is over
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