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South Salem Fire Department Loses Legend Lynch

LEWISBORO – The oldest active member of the South Salem Fire Department, William Francis (Bill) Lynch, Jr., died July 7 at The Firemen's Home in Hudson, N.Y. He was 88.

Lynch was known as “Mr. SSFD” for the South Salem Fire Department to his colleagues and friends thanks to his tireless efforts on behalf of the organization.  He joined the department in 1954 and served as chief in 1972, 1973 and 1977. He received Firefighter of the Year awards in 1992 and 1997. He was past president of the SSFD in 1969, 1970 and 1980-83. He obtained and wrote the charter for the SSFD Benevolent Association in 1973 and chaired the finance committee for many years.

Lynch was active in organizing and running the annual fund drives and served as a fire district election inspector for many years.  He was the voice of the annual fireman's parade for more than 30 years.

“He was a staple of the fire department before I was even born,” said current chief Andrew Llewellyn. “He was Mr. SSFD. He wrote the book of what we do, including our bylaws. It all started with him.”

Lynch was actively involved in volunteer fire service organizations including the NYS Fire Service Council, the NYS Fire Safety Consortium, the NYS Fire Marshalls and Inspectors Association, the Westchester County Fire Chiefs Association, the Westchester County Volunteer Fireman's Association, the Westchester County Parade Judges Association, the Westchester County Fire Advisory Board and the NYS Arson Task Force.

He grew up in the Chelsea section of New York City, the son of William Francis Lynch, Sr. and Mary Josephine (Duffy) Lynch. In 1938, he graduated from De la Salle Private Institute as valedictorian of his class. In 1942, at the age of 19, he graduated from Manhattan College with his first bachelor's degree. In 1944 he earned a bachelor’s degree from Manhattan College and attended medical college from 1944 through 1946. In 1951, he graduated from Brooklyn Law School with his bachelor’s and his Juris Doctor in 1967. He was a member of the Delta Theta Pi law fraternity.Lynch was owner of Certified Employment Agency from 1949 through 1954 before joining Nationwide Insurance in 1954. He retired from Nationwide in 1986.

Lynch was a communicant at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Ridgefield, CT since 1954 and was a past District Deputy and past Grand Knight of the Knights of Columbus Council 245 in Ridgefield. He received honors of the 4th degree in 1958 and was the state insurance chairman for Connecticut.He was predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Dr. Mary E. Lynch on July 30, 2006, and by his brother, Rev. Patrick Joseph Lynch of Troy, N.Y. He is survived by nine children Mary Clare of Bronx, N.Y., William (Lauren) of Tajikistan, John of Dover, N.Y., Michael (Sy) of South Salem, N.Y., Margaret of Queen Creek, Ariz., Adele of San Diego, Calif., Laura of Sharon Springs, N.Y., Diane of Binghamton, N.Y., and Angela (Joseph) Guerriero of Bethel, Conn. Bill leaves 12 grandchildren, two great grandchildren and a brother, John Seal of Merritt Island, Fla.A Mass of Christian burial was celebrated at St. Mary Roman Catholic Church in Ridgefield, Conn., on Monday. Interment was at South Salem Cemetery on Spring Street in South Salem.Donations may be made in Lynch’s honor to the South Salem Fire Department, PO Box 191 South Salem, NY 10590.

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