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Couple Reunited After 50 Years Killed in Crash

October 22, 1994

QUANTICO, Va. (AP) _ Paul Flanagan was Dorothy Thompson’s first love, but World War II came between them. Fifty years later, they were reunited, only to be struck and killed by a car as they crossed a highway.

Flanagan, 71, of San Jose, Calif., and Thompson, 69, of Owensboro, Ky., were killed Wednesday night.

The couple had just finished a pizza dinner when they were hit trying to cross a seven-lane highway. Witnesses said they were carried more than 60 feet on the car’s roof before the driver could stop. No charges were filed.

Flanagan’s family said there was no romance between Flanagan and Mrs. Thompson.

″He was planning a trip back East to visit family and old friends and wanted to see her on the way,″ Bruce Flanagan, one of Flanagan’s sons, said in a telephone interview from California. ″There was no romance or intentions for furthering the relationship beyond old friends getting together for dinner.″

Lisa Rihn, Thompson’s daughter, said the pizza dinner marked the 50-year anniversary of Flanagan’s marriage proposal to Thompson. She had turned him down, saying she was too young and he was going overseas the next day with his Coast Guard unit.

The two had dated for two years after meeting at a USO dance. Flanagan and Thompson had vowed to meet up after the war, but didn’t speak again until this year. She was widowed in 1987 and he was divorced.

Rihn said the two decided to meet in Pittsburgh on Oct. 13 to visit Civil War sites along the East Coast, and attend the 50-year reunion of Flanagan’s Coast Guard class on Thursday.

Ms. Rihn said in a telephone interview that the couple’s final days apparently were happy ones. She said she spoke with her mother on the telephone Monday when her mother and Flanagan were in Wheeling, W.Va.

″To put it plainly, you couldn’t understand a word she was saying because she was giggling so much,″ Rihn said Friday. ″I talked to Paul too, and he said he lost his Dottie 50 years ago, and he wasn’t going to let her go now.″

Rihn said her mother had shown her old photos of Flanagan when she was growing up. ″There was just a special bond she had with him,″ she said.

″Perhaps there was some wishful thinking on Dorothy or her children’s part,″ Bruce Flanagan said, ″but Dad never had any intentions other than seeing an old friend on a visit through the area. Dad has a long-term, loving relationship with a woman in San Jose.″

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