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Monday, August 22, 2005

Goodbye Dad

Below is the obituary I just wrote for my father. I also submitted to the Philadelphia Inquirer and to the Pottsville Republican (his hometown newspaper to which he still subscribed).

James J. Lynch, of Rhawnhurst, died on Sunday, August 21 2005. He was in his 89th year and was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Margaret McGee. Mr. Lynch was born in Phoenix Park, Pennsylvania in Schuylkill County and was the son of John and Lottie Lynch. He was one of ten children and is survived by his daughters, Barbara (Michael) Pumple, Judith (Michael) Gullotti, his sons Anthony and Timothy, eight grandchildren as well as two brothers Gerard and William Lynch. He was preceded in death by his sisters Margaret, Anne, Catherine and Mary and brothers John, Edward (Ted), and Francis (Pat).

The son of a coal miner, Mr. Lynch was an Army veteran of World War II, entered the service in February of 1942 and was stationed in the Aleutians Island during the war. Before moving to Philadelphia, Mr. Lynch was a teacher and baseball coach at Branch Township (his alma mater) in Minersville.

Mr. Lynch earned a bachelors degree in education and a masters degree. He taught math, science and physical education at the Shawmont Elementary School in Roxborough for more than twenty-five years and retired in 1979.

He was a graduate of Kutztown State Teachers College where he was known as the Irish Flash for his exceptional speed in the 100-yard dash. Unfortunately he attended Kutztown before the school established a track team but Mr. Lynch claimed the football team would pause its team practice to watch him show off his prowess in the 100-yard dash. He also gambled a bit at Kutztown and hinted the walls of his dorm room still had dice marks from the many games of craps they played.

He was a lifelong sports fan and coached baseball for several years for the Rhawnhurst Athletic Association. He loved watching sports on TV and was a big fan of the Phillies, Eagles, college basketball, horse racing, women’s softball, the little league world series and pool to name a few. In fact, when he retired his fellow teachers gave him a pool cue as a retirement gift. As a young boy, he had seen the powerful Pottsville Maroons play. They were a forerunner of the NFL teams and laid claim to a league championship that is disputed to this day.

He was an avid reader, had an encyclopedic memory and never forgot a birthday for one of his grandchildren. Just one week before his death, during a phone call he learned a grandson had visited Ithaca to check out potential colleges. Mr. Lynch spontaneously launched into a rendition of a fight song he had heard fifty years ago when the University of Pennsylvania football fans would mock their Thanksgiving opponent, Cornell (located in Ithaca).

Here is the song: “ On the shore of Lake Cayuga, there was a horrible smell. Was a pack of sons of bitches, called themselves Cornell”. The family requests mass cards or a donation to the charity of your choice. A viewing will be held at the Fox funeral home on Tuesday evening from 7-9PM, the funeral mass will be at 10AM on Wednesday at Resurrection of Our Lord church.


Anonymous said...

I had your dad as a gym teacher at Shawmont school. I graduated 8th grade in 1971.

I was not really in tune with people at that age so I can't honestly say I knew him well.

But I remember him being a decent guy who the kids didn't hate. That's really pretty high praise for that age group.

I'm sorry for your loss.

AJ Lynch said...

Wow - the wonders of the internet to get Anonymous (above) here 37 years after he or she was taught by my father in the 8th grade at The Shawmont School in Philadelphia.

Thanks for your comment!

AJ Lynch