SAINT PAUL, Minn - Bestselling Minnesota novelist Vince Flynn was laid to rest this morning. More than 2,500 mourners came to the St. Paul Cathedral to remember Flynn, and in the pews stood a vast range of all he touched, from fans of his novels to many well-known names.
Rush Limbaugh, Senator Amy Klobuchar, Norm Coleman, and baseball player George Brett attended the funeral. Singer Tim Mahoney from The Voice offered his vocals.
Perhaps most visible was the crowd of family and friends who walked alongside his casket, with an American flag and bagpipes leading the way.
Flynn had six siblings and 18 nieces and nephews in his fiercely loyal Irish Catholic family.
Flynn died last Wednesday after battling an aggressive form of prostate cancer for more than two years at age 47.
The St. Paul native sold more than 15 million books in the U.S. His 14th novel, "The Last Man," was published last year.
Loved ones say even though Flynn wrote countless chapters in his life, he had just three words for those he loved, especially in his final days. Keep the faith. He uttered the words often, and signed letters and text messages with his favorite phrase.
Barb Aslesen says faith was an unabashed force that made Flynn more than a bestselling author. She grew up with Flynn and shared lake property with him in their adult years.
"Everything was keep the faith, he always was so positive through all of this - even through all the bad news he always included a bit of good news," said Aslesen. "He would just want people to remember him as a man of God. He truly would he would want people to remember him as a servant of Jesus Christ."
As his battle with prostate cancer ended, Flynn was rarely without his rosary, and received daily Communion, and read his scriptures daily. So he scripted his farewell with full Catholic mass in the St. Paul Cathedral.
"It was beautiful, because they all loved Vince. Vince was loved by everyone. He had such strong faith, you could feel that in the church. It was beautiful, the way the Mass was said, the reverence of everybody," said longtime family friend Jane O'Neill.
High school classmate Tom Tracy wrote a eulogy that remembered Flynn as a "once in a lifetime" spirit, whose accomplishments as an author paled in comparison to his character. Tracy said Flynn dazzled everyone from his favorite restaurant waitress to President George W. Bush.
He remembered Flynn's steadfast determination and optimism, someone who didn't give up when he struggled with dyslexia, faced a pile of rejection letters, or a grim cancer diagnosis. Flynn even worked on his 15th novel in spite of his illness.
"He was just always Vince. He was never Vince Flynn the author. He was Vince Flynn the person. The man, an amazing man," said Aslesen.
Flynn leaves behind his wife Lysa, and children, ages 17, 12 and 10.
Memorials in his name may be gifted to The Saint Thomas Academy at 949 Mendota Heights Road, Mendota Heights, Minnesota 55120.
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