Darlene Marie Flynn died on Monday, July 22, 2013.
She was born in St. Marys on May 11, 1955, daughter of Mary and Wayne Fritz.
She spent her childhood in Tonawanda and Grand Island, N.Y. and then moved to Anaheim and Murrietta, Calif. and most recently settled in Romoland, Claif.
She is best known for being the world’s largest shoe collector of shoes, miniature shoes, and shoe-related items, having been in the Guinness Book of World Records and Ripley’s Believe It or Not. She always wanted to have a shoe museum and her own line of miniature shoes to benefit foster children and orphans.
She graduated from Grand Island High School, Grand Island, N.Y. in 1973. She had many friends from all around the world and had travelled to 23 countries and 35 states. She loved her trip to Hong Kong where her shoe collection was showcased for all the world to see, even Lady Gaga came to see her collection there. She loved life and loved to dance, sing, travel, play cards, socialize with friends and she always had a sense of humor and a smile for everyone she met. She was always helping others who were down and out. Sometimes life was a great struggle, especially as a single mom trying to make it on her own, but she never gave up and always worked hard and sought out new opportunities.
She also had two little dogs named ShoesyQ and Bootsy who she treasured.
In addition to her parents, Mary and Wayne Fritz of Sun City, Calif., she is survived by a son, Shawn Flynn of Sandpoint, Idaho, who she loved dearly; four siblings, Cindy Thomas and spouse Bob of Dover, N.H., Donna Cunha and spouse Frank of Rochester, N.H., Kevin Fritz and his fiancee Paula Zerdes of Seabrook, N.H., and Steven Fritz and his wife Maureen of Covington, Ga.; several nieces and nephews, Karianne and Robert (Bobby) Thomas, Kayla Price & spouse Shea, Corey Fritz & spouse Anna, Chelsey Fritz; Heather Fritz, Sarah Mahoney, and Jacob and Nicholas Cunha; a grandniece, Maddyx Fritz; an aunt, Ruth Graham; an uncle, Paul Hanes and his spouse Ginny; and many cousins.
She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Nami (Leona) and Poppop (Carl) Fritz and Barbara Hanes; and by many aunts, uncles, and cousins of the Hanes family from St. Marys.
A Celebration of Life service for Darlene Marie Flynn was held in Winchester, Calif. on July 27 in her memory. Donations may be sent in her memory to: Shawn Flynn, PO Box 335, Homeland, CA 92548.