Age 86, of Owosso, passed away Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, at her home, with her family by her side.

Jackie was born Dec. 7, 1934, in Owosso, the daughter of Ivan and Marvel (Carpenter) Sprague.

She graduated from Corunna High School, class of 1953, and attended Lansing Community College and Baker College.

Jackie worked for the Corunna Public Schools for 10 years, starting in 1954, and became the executive assistant to the superintendent.

Jackie owned and operated Doll-Flynn Inc, a national and international distributor of restaurant equipment. She also owned and operated Eddie “O” Flynn’s Restaurant, along with Cruiser’s Auto Wash. In addition, when she saw an opportunity to get free saplings from the state of Michigan, the 100-acre Flynn Family Tree Farm was born and operated for more than 20 years, providing jobs for the Flynn children and others.

Small businesses are the fabric of every community and, indeed, all of these business endeavors created job opportunities and career paths for many individuals in our community. Jackie was a strong role model in helping others succeed — your success was her success. She was a mentor, a compass and a safe place.

As well as supporting her community, Jackie also firmly believed in lifelong learning. She was the co-founder of the Shiawassee Foundation with Dr. R. David Allen, and its president for two terms. That organization provided countless scholarships to assist young people in this area with their educational goals.

Her belief that our community and its youth were worth investing in, gave her the drive to ask author Betty Mahmoody to hold her world premiere of the movie based on her book, “Not Without My Daughter,” to be held in our community. When Hollywood said a film starring Sally Fields and Alfred Molina couldn’t possibly have its world premiere in Owosso, Jackie knew differently. The premiere was not only a success, but also generated initial funding for the Shiawassee Foundation. While she would deflect all credit, it was under her stewardship, and based on the foundation she laid and the people she inspired to take on this work after her, that the Shiawassee Community Foundation grew from virtually nothing to the greater than $12 million fund today.

In 1991, Jackie was awarded the Athena leadership award which honors “an exceptional individual who has achieved the highest level of professional excellence, contributed time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the community, and actively assisted others — particularly women — to realize their potential.” In addition to those qualities, Jackie was also a woman of great humility, humble beyond words. Few ever realized the contributions she made to help others excel in their education, careers and in life.

In 1953, as a high school senior, Jackie Dawn Sprague wrote her yearbook motto as: “I’m a part of all I have met.” Clearly, she knew who she was and who she would become. Jackie was a member of St. Paul Catholic Church, Order of Eastern Stars, Daughters of American Revolution, Owosso City Council, Owosso Country Club and Corunna Women’s Club (two-term president). She was the financial secretary for the Owosso Sports Boosters for four years.

Jacqueline is survived by children Mark Flynn, Dawn (Edward) Flynn-Jacksland and Anne Flynn; grandchildren Chadd Spencer (Damion Pechota), Jaren Flynn, Jake Flynn, Morgan Jacksland, Jalene Kessler, Jayce Kessler, Abby Slocum and Sam Slocum; two great-grandchildren; brother Michael (Mary) Sprague; sister JoEllen Hartley (Richard Clark); and other loving family and friends.

She was predeceased by her parents, brothers Jim and Bob Sprague, and sister Sandra Schleef.

A Mass of Christian burial will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 4, at St. Paul Catholic Church with the Rev. Michael O’Brien officiating. Burial will follow at St. Paul Cemetery.

The family will receive friends Friday, Dec. 3, at Nelson-House Funeral Home, with a rosary prayed at 4 p.m. and visitation immediately following until 8 p.m.

Memorial contributions are suggested to the Shiawassee Foundation to the Jackie Flynn Memorial Fund.

Online condolences may be sent to the family at nelson-house.com.

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