John B. Lynch, Jr. LTC (R), 65, passed peacefully in his sleep Thursday, September 12, 2013 following an extended battle with cancer.
Born in Boston, Mass., September 16, 1947, John lived a distinguished life serving his nation and his community.
A natural leader, John spent twenty-two years serving his country in the United States Army, including three tours in Vietnam. Honors and commendations include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Soldiers Medal for Heroism, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Legion of Merit, five Bronze Stars and three Purple Hearts. The men under his command often say "John Lynch made us dangerous because he made us fearless."
Throughout his military career, John rose quickly through the ranks, ultimately retiring in 1986; his last post was as the Pentagon's Middle East Desk Officer during the Achille Lauro and TWA hijackings. Following his time in the military, John was recruited by two ambassadors to serve as the Director of Policy, Planning and Operations for the Multinational Peacekeeping Force & Observers in Rome, Italy. The organization was established as an outpost of the Camp David Accords to supervise compliance with the treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel. During his four year tenure, he reduced their budget by two-thirds and increased productivity and trade amongst the thirteen member nations. His accomplishments in this role were applauded by the governments of Egypt, Israel and the United States.
In November of 1990 he returned to his adopted home, Florida, and accepted his first City Manager position in Lady Lake. While he was there only three short years, his accomplishments were many, including salvaging the town's water treatment facility, overhauling the budget, reducing taxes and enhancing economic development through his Vision 2000 program.
Lynch relocated to Indialantic in the mid-1990s where he accepted the role of Town Manager. While there, he created a retirement plan for non-police and firefighters, successfully wrote beautification and improvement grants, and focused on public space and park land.
In September 1998 he became the City Manager of Lynn Haven and proudly served in this capacity until his death. During his tenure in Lynn Haven, Lynch negotiated game changing deals that kept the city progressing and its citizens prospering, including the expansions of Trane, Wal-Mart, Sallie Mae, Merrick and General Dynamics to northwest Florida, resulting in millions of dollars in capital investment and thousands of new jobs.
While he loved the Army and his community, his greatest love was his wife of 26 years, Teresa "Teri" Lynch. Together they traveled the world; ran a tough campaign for the Florida House of Representatives; battled cancer; laughed and loved one another.
Always ready to share a story, John had an amazing wit and a smile that would light up a room. His loyalty and passion for his beloved Alabama Crimson Tide could convert even the most rabid of Auburn fans to his side. To know him was to love him and once you met him, he never left you. He will be missed.
Survivors include his mother, Olwyn Busby; his three children Alison C. Lynch of Nashville, Tenn., Melissa Whiteley and her husband Hanes Whiteley of Leesburg, Va. and Jud Lynch of Alexandria, Va.; and four grandchildren : Tyler, Hudson, Reagan, and Logan. His stepsons : Andy Collette and wife Michelle, and David Collette and wife Lael; and, six step grandchildren : Zach, Gabriel, Riley, Alannah, Garrett and Ashlyn also survive.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Teri Lynch; his father, John B. Lynch, Sr.; and, his stepfather, Norman R. Busby.
A memorial service will be held Monday, September 16, at Kent-Forest Lawn Chapel, at 12:30 in the afternoon with Rev. Virgil Tillman officiating.
The family would like to thank everyone at Lynn Haven City Hall and the community at large for their support and friendship over the last fifteen years. John loved the city of Lynn Haven and was honored to be your servant.
Expressions of sympathy may be submitted or viewed on line at www.kentforestlawn.com.
2403 Harrison Ave.
Panama City, FL 32405
Published in Panama City News Herald on Sept. 15, 2013