a photo of Ruari Flanagan

In Memory of Ruairi Flanagan

In Memory of
Ruairi Thomas Flanagan
1982 – 2013

Ruairi Flanagan was an alumnus of San Francisco State University who graduated in 2007 with a BA degree in Psychology.

On March 1, 2013, Ruairi passed away in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia from a tragic surfing accident.

Ruairi had a true passion and gift working with autistic and special needs children. His work took him from San Mateo, California to Dubai, United Arab Emirates, to Manchester, England and ultimately to Port Macquarie, New South Wales, Australia where he found his dream home. During his time in Port Macquarie, Ruairi became a surfing instructor and could be found on the beach most days with his beloved dog Cali giving surfing lessons. It was his dream someday to teach surfing to autistic and special needs children.

Besides his work and surfing activities, Ruairi was a member of the US Gaelic Athletic Association (USGAA). Following in his father’s (Bill Flanagan) footsteps, Ruairi starting playing Irish Football as a youth in Millbrae eventually joining the Eire Og Club San Francisco. He continued playing in Dubai for the Dubai Celts Team. In 2019, at the National Finals, Ruairi was named as honoree of the Junior B division by a commemoration trophy in recognition of his service to the organization.

Ruairi lived larger than life. He never allowed his doubts, worriers or concerns to overpower his confidence, spontaneity and thirst for life. Ruairi had a charismatic, silly and energetic personality and a charming smile that was contagious to all who knew him. No matter if you knew him for just a few days or were lucky enough to know him for a number of years, Ruairi was the type of person who made you feel and treated you as if you were a lifelong friend. Ruairi’s legacy lives on in the passion for life he inspired in everyone that know and loved him. He may have left this earth, but he will never leave the hearts and memories of those he inspired.

Ruairi’s mission statement for life is best summed up in his own words:

“Life is precious. Live it to the fullest.
Enjoy every moment.
Learn and grow from the negatives.
Love and cherish the positives.”

The Ruairi Flanagan Memorial Endowment honors his commitment to teaching children with special needs by providing a scholarship in the Special Education Department at San Francisco State University.