NORWALK, Conn. – Attorney Thomas Alfred Flaherty, former Norwalk Corporation Counsel and sister to Board of Education member Mary Ellen Ludwig-Flaherty, passed away recently at age 92.
Flaherty was born in Chicago just ahead of The Great Depression and his family came to live in Norwalk’s Orchard Street area, where his parents operated various restaurants and concession stands, his obituary states. “The Great Depression and War years (1930-1945) were difficult times, particularly in the relatively poor Orchard Street neighborhood; from age 11 onward, Mr. Flaherty earned money delivering newspapers, shining shoes, passing out circulars, caddying, serving as a bowling alley pin-boy and similar work.”
It explains, “The Orchard Street neighborhood was anchored on one end by St. Mary’s Church, and on the other end, importantly, by the YMCA, where Mr. Flaherty spent his teenage years swimming and playing basketball, ping pong (he was the YMCA champion ping pong player), and cards with the Callahans, Zullos, Cioffis, Tierneys, Hurleys, Foys, Millers and McQuillans, among others. Several friends from the ‘Y’ became at one time or another Mr. Flaherty’s law partners.”
The obituary states:
“Mr. Flaherty graduated from St. Mary’s School in 1943, Fairfield College Preparatory School in 1947 and Fairfield University in 1951. He was an avid Fairfield Stags basketball fan, holding season tickets for many years, and then watching all of the Stags’ games on TV or his IPad when he could no longer attend in person. From 1951 to 1953, Mr. Flaherty served in the US Army, stationed in West Germany. Whenever he had leave, Mr. Flaherty took the opportunity to travel to the great cities of Europe, sometimes in the company of his cousin, Candace Hines of Norwalk (a civilian serving in Army Special Services). While in the service, Mr. Flaherty applied to Columbia Law School, graduating with the Class of 1956.
“Following graduation from Columbia Law School, Mr. Flaherty briefly worked at the firm of Slavitt & Connery in Norwalk. However, he soon jumped at the opportunity to open his own legal practice in partnership with his life-long friends, Robert J. Callahan (future Chief Justice of the Connecticut Supreme Court) and Eugene Callahan (future Assistant State’s Attorney) located above the Callahan family plumbing shop. The combination of plumbing and law proved fortuitous and the firm of Callahan & Flaherty prospered. Later, they joined with Frank Zullo and Thomas Tierney (and subsequently at different times Lawrence Hauser, Nicholas Cioffi and Frank Murphy) to form the firm now known as Tierney, Zullo, Flaherty and Murphy, which was generally considered the best firm in Norwalk. During his 50-year legal career, Mr. Flaherty represented many major local businesses and developers. His long-term representation of Stew Leonard’s Dairy (for more than 45 years) and Charles Staack & Sons Builders was built upon life-long friendships. He also represented Merritt 7 Corporate Park (Albert D. Phelps) and The Norwalk Hospital for many years.
“Mr. Flaherty was actively involved in the City of Norwalk. He previously served as Norwalk’s Corporation Counsel (1965 to 1968) and as a member of the Norwalk Fire Commission, the Board of Education, the Redevelopment Agency, the Board of Ethics, the Charter Revision Committee, the Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors and the Norwalk Catholic Club. He also enjoyed almost 50 years of golf, fun and friendship as a member of the Shorehaven Golf Club and previously served on its Board of Directors.
“Mr. Flaherty was proud of his contributions to his beloved hometown of Norwalk. He delighted in the artistic, athletic and educational achievements of his wife, his children and his grandchildren. He was a wonderful husband, father and grandfather, providing a clear example of strength, honesty and integrity, and always ready to lighten a room with a warm (and lengthy) joke. He had the love of his family and the admiration of all who knew him.”
“Tom Flaherty was a real gentleman and a great man,” Mayor Harry Rilling wrote. “I’ve known him for many years both during my time on the police department and now as mayor. He had a wonderful sense of humor and could always make a person smile. I thoroughly enjoyed the many conversations I had with him. He was very wise and very interesting to listen to. He was quite the storyteller. He loved the City of Norwalk and was well-known and highly respected throughout.”