KERNERSVILLE, NC - Michael Flanagan, a former fleet management and leasing executive and consultant, passed away on Dec. 24, 2011, in Kernersville, N.C., after a long illness.

Michael Flanagan

Michael Flanagan

The son of Irish immigrants, Flanagan grew up in the Bronx, N.Y., and, after a stint in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1965 to 1967, began his fleet career at CIT Service Leasing in 1968 in New York City, in purchasing and used car sales. He was promoted to the company's Chicago sales office in 1969.

Flanagan worked for Al Cavalli, VP client relations and director, at CIT (and past NAFA president) and made an impression on his superior. "I remember Mike well. He worked for me in used car sales at CIT Service Leasing as a young man recently out of the Marines. He was a big fella and a hard worker," Cavalli recalled. "From there he was made our district sales manager in Chicago and the rest is history, having made a name for himself in the industry. I'm sure he'll be missed by his many friends."

After CIT, Flanagan worked for Genway Fleet, Gambles C&M (which became D&K Financial), and then GE Capital Fleet Services as regional vice president. He then served as regional vice president for USFL & Associates Fleet, working there from 1991 until 1997. Flanagan then segued into fleet consulting with SGS, and then joined Atlantic/Millennium, a retail dealer and leasing company in Long Island, N.Y., before retiring in 2005.

George Argueta, marketing manager for Corporate Claims Management, remembered Flanagan as a "beloved husband, father, grandfather, and ex-Marine. I know he is now with God and without pain. I will miss him and the memory of that Irish face."

Flanagan is survived by his wife, Kathryn, his three children, and five grandchildren.

As he reflected on his life during his illness, Flanagan found that Billy Joel's We Didn't Start The Fire was the perfect summary of the era in which he lived. Because it was meaningful to him, he forwarded it to many of his friends and professional colleagues and we thought we would share it with AF readers.

A more detailed summary of Flanagan's career will appear in the Friday, Dec. 30, edition of the Automotive Fleet e-newsletter.