Thomas James Flaherty died peacefully on Sept. 4 at St. Vincent Hospital in Billings after suffering a traumatic brain injury in early June.
Tom was born Sept. 27, 1939 in Billings and grew up in Red Lodge graduating from Red Lodge High School in 1957. In 1962 he received a degree in journalism from the University of Montana.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Carolyn (Lehr) Flaherty; daughter, Mary Teresa; son, Dr. Michael Thomas (Nan); sister, Mary (Gary) Chouinard; niece, Staci; and nephew, Chad.
He is preceded in death by his father, Joseph Thomas; mother, Dorothea Virginia (Monahan); and brother, John Joseph.
A memorial Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius X Church in Billings at 11 a.m. on Wed., Sept. 18, at 18th and Broadwater followed by lunch in the parish center. Interment of the urn will take place at a later date in Milwaukee, Wisc., Tom and Carolyn resided from 1971 to 2000 and where their children currently reside.
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Tom was an accomplished journalist with a focus on sports, most notably baseball, and he was the president of the Baseball Writers of America in 1982. He also served as the Masters of Ceremony for the 1982 Baseball Hall of Fame induction of Henry Aaron and Frank Robinson. During his career, Tom was employed at the Montana Standard, the Billings Gazette, the Wisconsin State Journal, the Milwaukee Journal, and ultimately the Journal Sentinel. In addition, he freelanced for the Sporting News and Baseball Digest, among other publications. In 2000, Tom, along with co-author Jim Ksincski, published "Jocks and Socks: Inside Stories from a Major-League Locker Room," published by McGraw Hill.
Tom was a passionate guitar aficionado and played a number of styles including those patterned after Chet Atkins, Joe Pass, and bluegrass flatpicking. His dedication to guitar music was an avocation instilled in his children, Teresa and Michael. Upon retirement in 2000 Tom and Carolyn returned to Red Lodge where he was civically active in the Red Lodge Lions Club, BareTooth Cupboards, and contributed a column for the Carbon County News entitled 'You Can Go Home Again.' He greatly enjoyed playing his guitar and singing with the music group at St. Agnes Church.
Memorials in Tom’s name can be sent to the University of Montana Foundation School of Journalism, PO Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807.
Tom’s family extends its gratitude to St. Vincent Healthcare, New Hope Rehabilitation, Avantara Billings, The Springs at Grand Park, Stillwater Hospice, and all caregivers who provide this important work to patients and their families.
Condolences may be shared online at www.smithfuneralchapels.com.