In Remembrance: Stanley E. Flink ’45W Died on December 31 2022

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Stanley Edgar Flink, a journalist and author who founded the Department of Public Information at Yale and later taught a journalism course in Yale College, died on December 31, 2022.  He was 98. 

Flink’s long and distinguished career in journalism was well detailed in the New York Times on January 8, 2023, and his legacy at Yale was described in the Milestones section of the Mar/Apr issue of the alumni magazine. So for another perspective, we called upon colleague and friend Robert Semple ’59, who wrote the following tribute:

“Stan led a remarkable life, filled with excitement and joy (and a wonderful wife named Joy). The  members of 1945W received their diplomas in different years, depending on how much time the war had kept them away from New Haven. Stan got his in 1948.  Yale provided an early stage for Stan's creativity and playful sense of humor. Don Watson, a member of my class (’59)  who is compiling  a history of the Yale Record, recently unearthed a parody of the New York Daily News published by the Record under Stan's guidance. The editors at Henry Luce's publishing  empire in New York were so taken by the parody that Stan was invited to join Life's staff—a huge break for someone in their early 20s. There he flourished, mainly as a correspondent for  Life on the West Coast, where he profiled big-time actors and political figures like William Holden, Howard Hughes, and Marilyn Monroe. His 1953 Life magazine article and photo shoot on Monroe  put her firmly on America's radar and sent her career to another level. He was especially close to Holden, a devilishly handsome carouser whom Stan spent a good deal of time and energy keeping out of trouble.  

“Then followed other journalistic ventures, including stints as writer and producer on the Today show and various documentaries and publications during an eight-year sojourn in London. But if there was anything more important to Stan than journalism and a  free press—he wrote two books about the First Amendment—it was Yale, which was always there, in his mind, his heart, and, as it happened, the last half of his professional life.  Returning to America in 1973, he gave Yale's department of information a much-needed overhaul; worked for three Yale presidents—Brewster, Hanna Gray, and Giamatti; taught undergraduate courses of his own devising for 20 years on journalism and the First Amendment; and received the coveted Yale Medal for distinguished service to the University in 1994. [Ed. note: Flink also wrote the 1945W class notes for this magazine, from 2012 until his death.]

“What I will remember most about Stan are two things. One, how much fun it was to be around him—his infectious laugh, his dazzling smile, the stories he told at the tailgates and postgame gatherings at Dave Mackenzie's house in Fairfield.  And two, his amazing, restless energy—bounding up and down the formidable steps at the Bowl, even into his late 80s, writing books, exploring new things like artificial intelligence. No retirement home could keep him down—out there in Evergreen Woods, almost to the end, he was giving lectures and organizing seminars—meanwhile making sure that Yale  games were transmitted to a big screen in the common room—and hoping, always, for redemption for the 29–29 tie with Harvard in 1968, which the heavenly forces were thoughtful enough to give him, more than once, before he passed away.”

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