Known for her love for life, dedication and light-hearted disposition, Sarah Elizabeth Flanagan incorporated her propensities to help others, be active and find the best in every situation.
“She really was terrific,” Sarah’s mother, Joan Flanagan said. “She had a great attitude and opinion about everything. She was very strong-minded and strong-willed. She was so confident, just in her own right.”
Sarah showed a constant willingness and desire to be involved. At Clear Falls High School in League City, Texas, she invested her time in tutoring other students in math and committed herself to academics and sports.
“We had so many people contact us and tell us how she was helping them study to get through different classes — calculus and things like that,” Scott Flanagan, Sarah’s father, said. “She was near the top of her high school class. She was number 14 out of 560 students, so she really did well. Really smart.”
Seeing Sarah continuously excel in school at numerous academic award ceremonies and watching her finish second in the state wrestling tournament as a freshman at Clear Falls High School are among Scott’s most cherished memories of his daughter.
Sarah showed the same eagerness to become involved immediately upon her arrival to Texas A&M. Sarah joined the Society of Women Engineers before the fall semester of her freshman year and loved everything about A&M, Joan said.
Sarah spent her freshman year at A&M as a general engineering student with the hope of gaining acceptance into the chemical engineering major. She applied her same strong work ethic and focus to her college coursework as she did every aspect of her life. When she decided to do something, she became fully committed to it, Scott said.
“She was really excited about going to school at A&M and becoming an engineer,” Scott said. “She liked the school. She loved being there.”
After moving to College Station for her freshman year at A&M, Sarah quickly discovered an appreciation for Gumby’s pizza rolls. Her mother said Sarah missed them so much during her summer at home after her first year she joked about driving two hours from League City to College Station just to buy 50 pizza rolls to bring home and freeze.
“Her favorite thing in College Station was probably ordering Gumby’s pizza rolls,” Sarah’s boyfriend Alexander Huck said. “They would give her extra pizza rolls every single time. It always said ‘plus one’ or ‘plus two’ on her box. They just knew her.”
As an active member of diverse groups of people and activities, Sarah was able to make friends in any new setting, while maintaining her friendships from her childhood, Joan said.
“Most of the friends she had, she had her whole life,” Joan said. “She made new friends all the time but she literally still has best friends that she met in preschool.”
Megan DeLeon, Sarah’s close childhood friend, knew Sarah as someone who would never let a second pass her by without making the most out of it. When Sarah was not studying or helping others study, she filled her time with fun and excitement, leading a well-rounded life, Megan said. She was someone that constantly worked hard and knew what she wanted in life, Megan said.
One of his favorite memories of her involved their trip to Austin where they hiked through trails and cliff jumped together, despite Sarah’s fear of falling.
“My second semester at A&M was the best part of my life because I got to spend it with her, whether it was studying or avoiding studying together,” Alexander said. “Spending time with her made me the happiest I have ever been in my life. We both couldn’t wait to get back to College Station so we could be back at A&M and no longer an hour drive apart like we were in the summer.”
Sarah and her brother Sean Flanagan, 21-year-old Texas Tech student, were both siblings and good friends, Joan Flanagan said. They shared a close relationship in which they were honest and humorous with one another.
“Her and her brother were friends, they really were,” Joan said. “When he went away to college, she sent him a glitter bomb because she missed him. He opened it in his dorm room and that was not funny, because his roommates were not happy. He mailed her a card from someplace else that said ‘Hey, you’re adopted.’ I’m serious, all these things probably costed me twenty-five bucks a pop, but it was just funny. They talked every day, or they texted. They were friends. I know he misses her.”
When Sarah was little, she would always fall asleep watching TV on the couch or in her parents’ bed. This is Scott favorite memory of his daughter.
“I would carry her upstairs and put her in her own bed, and say ‘I love you baby,’” said Scott. “She would always say ‘Good night daddy, I love you too.’”