Zene W. Flinn
Zene William Flinn was born Sept. 17, 1923, to Clyde and Myrtle (Chapel) Flinn at Simnasho, Ore. He passed away on May 9, 2015.
When asked how he got the name “Zene,” he would recount to his family and friends the story of his birth. His father, Clyde, was a land surveyor for the government and his expectant wife was accompanying him on a timber survey. The jolting of the wagon sent her into labor. His father was panicking when an Indian man, Zene Watkins, happened out of the woods and helped deliver him. In appreciation, he was named after the “delivery man.”
Zene grew up in Oregon, jumping from school to school due to his father’s job. At the age of 20 he volunteered for the U. S. Army and was assigned to the Army Air Corp. Because of his expert marksmanship, he earned the position of tail gunner in a B-17 bomber. He served in three campaigns, serving in North Africa, Italy and Germany.
After the war, he returned to the states, where he met his first wife, Ruth Kimpel. They were married in 1946 in Wheeling, W.Va., and moved to the Madras, Ore., area, where he attended Oregon State University for more than two years. Zene worked for Pacific Supply and Ruth was a surgical nurse at the local hospital. During their time in Oregon, their three children were born. His company, Pacific Supply Co-op, then transferred him to Quincy in 1955.
Zene was offered a position at Quincy Farm Chemical (QFC) and later became part owner/manager in 1965 upon the death of Tony Romano. He held that position until his retirement in 1985. He was well known in the fertilizer industry and served as president of the Pacific Northwest Plant Food Association in 1968 and president of the Northwest Fertilizer Industry Association in 1974.
Zene was an entrepreneur and was involved in the founding of Columbia Foods, Pilot Farms, Flinn Enterprises, Hedgerow Orchards, Flinn Farms, Big T Orchards, Northridge Orchards, Long Lake Shore Inc., and an electrical company (Desert Electric) with his son, Mark.
Zene’s first wife, Ruth, passed away in 1979. He later married Jackie Greenwalt, and they spent their years together boating, enjoying their lake home, raising their dogs, square dancing, traveling in their motor home, hunting and fishing, spending time with children and grandkids, and all the time making friends along the way.
Zene was proud of the orchards (Flinn Farms) he and his son, Michael, developed. They grew many varieties of apples and harvest was always a special time of year. Zene was honored as “Farmer of the Year” in 2003 during Quincy Farmer-Consumer Awareness Day.
Zene loved his family, his dogs and the many friends he made throughout his years, and he loved watching the Quincy area grow. He was a generous supporter in the community. In his later years, he perfected growing his “special” tomatoes in his backyard. He liked sharing them with family and friends.
Zene was a longtime member of the Quincy First Presbyterian Church, Quincy Rotary Club, Quincy Moose Lodge and the Ephrata Elks Club. He was involved in Troop 45 of the Boy Scouts of America while his sons were growing up.
Zene is survived by his wife, Jackie, of 35 years; a daughter Micki Jo Tally (Harold); sons Michael William (Theresa) and Mark Zene (Rebecca); a step-daughter, Kelli Forsythe (Rodney); 11 grandchildren, Andrea, Andres, Mark Stefan, Vanessa, Larry, Jennefer, Zene William, Lindsay, Gordon, Chelsea and Colby; 10 great-grandchildren and a nephew, Bob Keeler (Brenda).
Preceding him in death were his parents, Clyde William and Myrtle Flinn; his step-mother, Olive Jenni Flinn; his first wife, Ruth Kimpel Flinn; and his sisters, Audrey Hoskins and Donis Keeler.
Family graveside services were held on May 14, 2015, at the Quincy Valley Cemetery. A celebration of life service was held on Friday, May 15, 2015 at the First Presbyterian Church in Quincy. Memorials may be made to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, 1100 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle, WA, 98109.
Please leave a memory for the family or sign its online guest book at www.scharbachs.com. Scharbach’s Columbia Funeral Chapel in Quincy assisted the family with arrangements.