James J. Lynch, of Rhawnhurst, died on Sunday. He was in his 89th year and was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Margaret McGee. Mr. Lynch was born in Phoenix Park and was a son of John and Lottie Lynch.
He was one of ten children and is survived by his daughters, Barbara, wife of Michael Pumple, and Judith, wife of Michael Gullotti; his sons, Anthony and Timothy; eight grandchildren; a great-grandchild; his two brothers, Gerard and William Lynch. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Margaret, Anne, Catherine and Mary; brothers John, Edward "Ted" and Francis "Pat."
The son of a coal miner, Mr. Lynch was an Army veteran of World War II, having entered the service in February 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 bachelor's degree in education and a master's degree.
He taught math, science and physical education at the Shawmont Elementary School in Roxborough for more than 25 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, neither his high school nor Kutztown had a track team in those days, but Mr. Lynch claimed the Kutztown football team would pause its team practice to watch him show off his speed 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 50 years ago when the University of Pennsylvania football fans would mock their Thanksgiving opponent, Cornell, located in Ithaca.
The family requests Mass cards or a donation to a charity of choice. A viewing will be held at George Fox Funeral Home, Philadelphia, tonight from 7 to 9 p.m. A funeral mass will be at 10 a.m. on Wednesday at Resurrection of Our Lord Church.