Influential Clermont businessman dies

Horace Flannery
One of Clermont County’s most influential businessmen passed away June 27.

Horace Combs Flannery, of Hyde Park, was the founding president of the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce, two-time president of the Clermont County Board of Realtors, founding partner of the Eastgate Mall development and much more.

“He has done so much in Clermont County,” Zita Flannery, Horace’s wife of 57 years said. “He accomplished all of those things by sheer personality.”

Zita said Horace was enthusiastic about everything he got involved with. She said he was a visionary and could always see what could be. His enthusiasm and hard work began when he was young.

Horace grew up in Clermont County. He went to high school in Batavia and from there joined the U.S. Navy. He went to medical school while he was in the Navy, and they shipped him to the Marines to be a corpsman. He served in Korea as a front line medic and was a Purple Heart recipient.

Zita, who is from Amelia, knew of Horace when they were in school, but hit it off with the corpsman when he came home on leave. She said Horace was very convincing and it took just three weeks of dating for her to move to California, where he was located, and marry him.

The couple bounced back and forth from California to Clermont County a couple of times, but Zita said Horace loved his hometown, and in 1960 he came back, opened Aladdin Real Estate and stayed put.

“I loved it out there but he always wanted to come back,” Zita said. “He just thought it was a great place to live and there were so many things that weren’t here that he wanted to bring (here).”

Horace began working to improve the county. He traveled to New York to meet with someone at JC Penny about putting a store in Eastgate Mall. He cut the ribbon when the mall opened. He founded the Clermont County Chamber of Commerce and received the Clermont County Pace Setter Award with his brother.

In addition, Horace had networked with many people and helped accomplish things for the state and country. He assisted in getting Honda to locate in Ohio, was a member of the second U.S. China Trade Mission and attended the Mid East Economic Summit to help promote trade between the U.S. And Jordan.

When he wasn’t working on a vision he had, or doing something at his real estate company, Zita said he loved spending time with his family. The couple had five children and Zita said Horace was a big family man. She also said he enjoyed traveling, riding motor bikes and fishing with his son.

“We lived our life together,” Zita said. “We’ve had great times.”

Zita said Horace was in good health until he suffered a stroke about five years ago. Although it wasn’t debilitating, she said it just kind of zapped the energy out of him. Recently, he was hospitalized after a small brain bleed, and the combination of that and heart issues caused his death at 78 years old.

Horace is survived by his children Tina Roberts, Patricia Flannery, Deborah Flannery, Stephen Flannery and Sharon O’Maley, who were all at the hospital when he died. He is also survived by his four grandchildren Sam and Lucy Roberts and Ella and Davin O’Maley.

He was preceded in death by his siblings Harold and Louis Clayton Flannery.

Services for Horace were held 10 a.m. June 30 at Moore Family Funeral Home. Interment was at Mt. Moriah Cemetery. Zita said Horace’s friends and family at the funeral all talked about what a kind, generous person he was.

“I thought the funeral was wonderful,” Zita said. “Several people gave some of their recollections and my three granddaughters did a prayer. It was very touching.”

Memorials are preferred to the American Heart Association at 5211 Madison Rd, Cincinnati, OH 45227, or the Military Order of the Purple Heart Foundation at 7008 Little River Turnpike, P.O. Box 49, Annandale, VA 22003.