Pat dedicated his professional life to improving the understanding of the combustion process in internal combustion engines. Even after his retirement from Cummins, he continued to work diligently on diesel combustion modeling using Second Law of Thermodynamics analysis to demonstrate potential improvements in diesel engine performance. He also continued developing complex simulation methods to further understanding and improvement of the combustion process in both spark-ignited and compression ignition engines.
Pat started a consulting company called KFB Consulting. The KFB stood for “Keep Flynn Busy.” He continued doing research, saying, “I’ll stick my pick in whenever I see an opportunity.” And with this attitude he leaves behind a theory he had not yet verified on how combustion “really works,” which he believed would open many new avenues of research and use. He truly was an excellent role model of the concept of lifelong learning.
Pat used to gently put his hand on your shoulder and say the kind words, “We’ve got to talk!” He was known for regular reality checks, had an infinite ability to see when the ducks were not in a row, and made back-of-the-envelope calculations. But perhaps his ability to focus on the business at hand was only exceeded by his ability to motivate people to work hard. His brilliant career was filled with passionate and caring guidance, great motivation and leadership, and inspirational words.
Pat was preceded in death by his wife on January 19, 2005. They both left a great legacy of education. Pat and Beverly were very interested in giving the opportunity to go to college to first-generation families, just as he had done. Together they quietly created scholarships and continuously were big contributors to the University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin, and Indiana University.
So at the end of an amazing life’s journey, some Flynn-isms to live by: “There are too many birds that are not in the box yet,” so, “The sooner we pre-think this the better.” We might all do well to look forward and get thinking.