“I have been blessed with a great life.”
Michael (“Mike”) O’Flaherty, age 84, joined the loving arms of his best friend and wife of 54 years, Barbara, family and God on September 26, 2022 following an extended illness. In his final days he was at peace, with family and, as always, welcoming, kind and grateful to everyone who visited and cared for him.
Mike was the son of Vincent J. and Josephine O’Flaherty and a lifelong Kansas City, Missouri resident. He graduated from Rockhurst High School (Class of 1955), Rockhurst University (Class of 1959) and St Louis University School of Law (Class of 1962).
Mike was born into a proud, Irish Catholic and Jesuit family, in the Kansas City, Midtown tradition. His father, Vincent J. O’Flaherty, was in the first graduating class of Rockhurst University, Class of 1921. Family tradition has it Mike’s grandfather, also Vincent J. O’Flaherty, helped to donate land upon which the original site for Rockhurst was built. Mike’s brother, another Vincent O’Flaherty, also a Rockhurst U. Grad, joined the Jesuits and was ordained by the Society of Jesus as priest in 1947. Mike attended Redemptorist grade school and of course, Rockhurst High and Rockhurst University.
Mike and Barbara were married in 1961. They were proud to let everyone know that President and First Lady John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy were invited to the wedding and were sadly unable to attend but sent a bouquet of flowers in their absence. The young O’Flahertys eventually settled in Visitation Parish where they raised their four children: Vincent, Joseph, Elizabeth and Michael. Mike was an active member of the Visitation family serving on multiple school and parish boards, proclaiming the word of God as Lector and participating as a Eucharistic Minister. He even accepted appointment as 6th grade girls B-team basketball coach for one year. (an original “one and done”) He took Communion to the homebound and comforted all those he saw. Their 63rd Street house was the center of many wonderful holiday and special occasions over the span of 42 years. Eventually, Mike and Barbara moved south and became members of St. Thomas More Parish and continued serving in roles with the church as usher and Eucharist Minister.
Mike had a great run as a leading real estate attorney for 58 years. Mike brought a fine intellect and family real estate background with him when he started practicing law with the Stinson Mag & Fizzell law firm in Kansas City (now known as Stinson,LLP). For the next 42 years Mike worked hard to become a nationally recognized expert in commercial real estate law leading the Stinson law firm’s real estate practice group for many years. Upon his “first” retirement from practicing law in 2003, Mike accepted appointment by then County Executive Kathryn Shields and the Jackson County Legislature as the Jackson County Assessor, a position he held from 2003 to 2007. As Assessor, Mike brought expertise and a legal perspective to the assessment process that was transitioning to computerized record keeping and property reappraisal as the county was going through record real estate value increases. He was honored to serve his county in the same position, County Appraiser, as was served by his brother John D. O’Flaherty in the early 1980s. In 2007, Mike began his “second” legal career by returning to the practice of law in an Of Counsel position with the Stinson firm. In 2015 Mike transitioned his law practice from Stinson and joined the law firm started by his oldest son and fellow lawyer, Vince O’Flaherty, where the two were at last able to work on several matters together before Mike‘s “final” retirement. (Many thanks to all the friends, judges, fellow lawyers and clients for engaging and referring others to engage Mike to handle their complicated real estate matters during these years) He also loved teaching the law. Throughout his career Mike spoke and wrote articles regularly on real estate topics for various legal industry groups including the Missouri Bar Association, the Greater Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association and other organizations. He became an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Missouri School of Law teaching multiple subjects related to real estate finance. He was honored to be appointed and accepted as a member of the American College of Real Estate Attorneys, a nationally recognized organization of the top real estate attorneys in the United States.
Mike gave of his time. He served the Serra Club for 48 years, Seton Center, and a volunteer and board member of Kansas City Hospice for 35 years (Chair from 1991-94) where in 2010 he was honored for his service at the 30 year anniversary celebration. Mike also served as a trustee on the Rockhurst University Board of Regents from 2002-2011.
Mike always supported catholic education with his time, talents and treasures. He was blessed to support and see children and grandchildren attend and graduate from leading catholic and Jesuit schools including St. Teresa’s Academy, Rockhurst High School, Bishop Miege High School, Rockhurst University, Creighton University, Regis University, Marquette University, Gonzaga University and Seattle University.
Mike loved reconnecting with relatives in Ireland including the Daly family of Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland. He and Barbara made sure all of their children, daughters in law and grandchildren were able to join them on a trip in 2006 to the family farm and homestead on Slievenamon Mountain outside Clonmel. Mike was proud to claim a true Irish family like the Dalys as his own. He gleefully recounted how in the Daly’s dining room two pictures hung side by side on the wall, one of President John F. Kennedy and a second of Mike’s brother, Jesuit priest Fr. Vince. It was from this mountain and homestead Mike’s great grandfather walked down the hill, found a ship to America and began a life that led to God blessing us with Mike.
Mike and Barbara traveled the world beyond Kansas City and Ireland. They saw the beauties of Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Czechoslovakia, England, Hawaii and places in between.
Upon his death, Mike joins his wife Barbara, parents Vincent J. and Josephine O’Flaherty, brothers Vincent O’Flaherty, S.J., John D. O’Flaherty and sister Mary Jo O’Flaherty in heaven. He is survived by his children and spouses Vincent (Anne) O’Flaherty, Joseph (Julie) O’Flaherty, Elizabeth O’Flaherty and Michael O’Flaherty, grandchildren and spouses Kathleen (Alex) Chase, Jack (Annie) O’Flaherty, Tara O’Flaherty, Casey (Matt) Alyward, Cecilia (Lily) O’Flaherty, Jeanne O’Flaherty, great grand children Luna Chase, Oliver Chase and Joseph Alyward and nieces and nephews of the O’Flaherty and Burdett families and all those countless O’Flaherty and Daly Irish relatives that are welcoming him with open arms in heaven.
Holy Rosary will be held at 4:00pm on Friday October 14, 2022 at Muehlebach Funeral Home 6800 Troost, Kansas City, Missouri 64131 with visitation to follow until 6:30pm. Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:00am on Saturday October 15, 2022 at St. Thomas More 11822 Holmes Road, Kansas City, Missouri, 64131. All are welcome to join the family afterwards for a luncheon at St Thomas More.
Mike’s family wishes to thank a special friend, Khedija Kemal, and the amazing and dedicated staff at Kingswood and Kansas City Hospice for your loving care for Mike. We have been blessed to have you support Mike and the family these last few weeks and months.
For those wishing to give memorials in Mike’s name, the family suggests the Vincent J. O’Flaherty Scholarship Fund at Rockhurst University to help foster all the catholic ideals that were instilled in Mike and carried him through such a wonderful, good and blessed life.