Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service: Donna & Doug Flanagin celebrate 50 years of marriage

Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service: Donna & Doug Flanagin celebrate 50 years of marriage

Flanagins Bulk Mail Service 50th Anniversary Party 2022

Flanagins Bulk Mail Service 50th Anniversary Party 2022 34 Photos
Flanagins Bulk Mail Service 50th Anniversary Party 2022Flanagins Bulk Mail Service 50th Anniversary Party 2022Flanagins Bulk Mail Service 50th Anniversary Party 2022Flanagins Bulk Mail Service 50th Anniversary Party 2022

Donna and Doug Flanagin celebrated 50 years of marriage on Sunday, marking their anniversary with a gathering of family and friends at Allure on the Lake in Chesterton.  For five decades, the couples have lived together, worked together, raised a family together and made a shared impact on the Valparaiso community and greater Northwest Indiana that’s hard to measure.

Yet their story together stretches back beyond even those 50 years, as Donna Flanagin explained when she surprised Doug with a narrated – and illustrated – tale of their lives together. They shared a class in kindergarten, gradually growing closer throughout the years until he asked her out on a date and sparked their lifelong romance.

“It’s been a great journey, it really has,” she said. “Even when I look back, it’s hard to believe how far we’ve come and how quickly it went. Fifty years ago, I won the only lottery that really matters when I married Doug.”

Throughout her story she piled shirts, hats, and helmets on her husband to highlight different times in their lives: when he opened his excavation business, when she opened Flanagin’s Bulk Mail when they had grandkids, and more.

“I’ve had a wonderful life, and I’m going to say this one time to God and Jesus, I’d give up 10 years of my life to live it all over again,” Doug Flanagin said. “That’s how wonderful it was. I’m very fortunate to have had what I have, to have worked hard, have great family, so many good friends. Life is great, and it’s all what you make it. You can’t fail when you’re on the positive side.”

In a lot of ways, they are a couple that the community recognizes through their work – both having established businesses bearing their family name. Doug with his excavation company, and Donna with her bulk mail service. They’ve always helped each other with their work, their daughters have too – it’s just what they do.

“It’s all they’ve known, even before they got together my dad was part of his own family’s business before he split off to do his own,” said Erica George, one of the Flanagin daughters. “We’re all together, my daughters actually work with us as well. Normally people say business and family together doesn’t work, but you just must make it. Sometimes it doesn’t even feel like work, we’re just family hanging out while getting things done, and I’m very grateful for that.”

Monica Clark, the pair’s other daughter, explained how her parents are ideal role models, both as individuals and as a unit. Her own husband, Troy Clark, owns The Allure on the Lake – and she was there to support him as they rebuilt after a fire destroyed the venue in 2019.

“They’ve just been so great for me, growing up and seeing them work together and be my parents has helped me as a person and in my marriage,” she said. “They’re best friends, amazing parents, and work well together. I’m just so, so happy to have this here. This is our first family event here since we’ve rebuilt, and it means so much that it could be for my parents - that we could all be together.”

Flanagin, for her part, noted that things were not always easy. She explained it as a 50 year, ongoing journey that requires constant teamwork, compromise, and understanding.

“It’s been an extreme learning experience, the whole way through,” she said. “My one piece of advice for others is to try to have your ears be bigger than your voice, listen as much as you can. If you just talk it out, you can understand each person’s point of view.”

The pair are eager to continue their adventure together for years to come.

“We just fit together like a gear,” Doug Flanagin said. “For some reason, her and I have just always fit. I think it’s in the upbringing. My Uncle Flanagin said to me ‘you take care of her sonny, she’s good for you. She comes from great roots and that’s what you need.’ I listened to my uncle; he was a wise man.  I’m very fortunate for everything I have.”

To learn more about Flanagin’s Bulk Mail Service, visit mybulkmail.com, and for more about The Allure on the Lake check out allureone.com.