The Lynch family


By Greg Hoersten - For The Lima News



Tom Lynch’s team photo from his Navy days. He was center and team captain.

Tom Lynch’s team photo from his Navy days. He was center and team captain.


Allen County Historical Society photos

Jim Lynch

Jim Lynch


Allen County Historical Society photos

Tom Lynch and Roger Staubach, when they played at the Naval Academy.


Courtesy of U.S. Naval Academy

An ad published Jan. 7, 1967, congratulates the Lynch family on Jim Lynch being named All American.


Allen County Historical Society photos

Part 1 of 2

LIMA — It was, the New York Mirror wrote, a “summery, sunny, afternoon” as a crowd approaching 100,000, including President John F. Kennedy, jammed into Philadelphia Stadium on Dec. 1, 1962, to watch the 63rd meeting between Army and Navy. The game was considered a toss-up; it turned into a rout.

Navy, behind quarterback Roger Staubach, a sophomore from Cincinnati, rolled up 34 points, while Lima’s Tom Lynch, a junior linebacker, led a Midshipmen defense that held Army to 14.

In a postgame interview with The Lima News, Lynch said he was surprised at the margin, though not the result, and praised the play of Staubach. He added that he would be home later that month. “I can’t wait to see my brother,” Lynch said. “I’m really proud of him. He’s doing quite well at LCC.”

That brother, Jim Lynch, would go on to captain Notre Dame and win a Super Bowl with the Kansas City Chiefs. Tom Lynch would be named captain of the Navy team the following year and eventually become leader of the entire U.S. Naval Academy. The brothers were but the two most well-known members of a remarkable Lima family that also included older brother Rodney III, younger brother Ray and Cheryl Ann, the youngest member of the family, as well as parents Rodney L. Lynch Jr. and Marie Rose Hahn Lynch.

“We were just very blessed,” said Ray Lynch, 64, who today runs a brokerage firm in the Cincinnati area. “We were fortunate to have great parents.”

Rodney Lynch Jr., was born June 26, 1911, in Lima, to Rodney L. and Hellen Keller Lynch. He married Marie Rose Hahn and the couple eventually settled in at 122 W. Circular St., not far from the South Elizabeth Street home of his parents. Both father and son would have long careers with the gas company.

“Working for the West Ohio Gas Co. is a ‘family affair’ for Lima’s Lynch family,” the News wrote Oct. 25, 1964. “’It was the best thing I ever did,’ said Rod Lynch Jr., referring to his joining the company in 1929, immediately after graduation from (Lima) St. John’s High School. His father worked for West Ohio Gas from 1901 to 1944.” Rodney L. Lynch Sr., according to a Dec. 20, 1959, story in the News, “recalls helping install the first lights on Lima’s Main Street in 1901.”

Rodney Lynch III was born June 22, 1936. Like his father, he would graduate from St. John’s High School, where he starred on the basketball and baseball teams. A December 17, 1952, story in the News praised his play in the Titans 54-51 upset of Lima St. Rose High School. In addition to playing basketball and baseball, a sport in which he played outfield, Rodney Lynch represented Lima and Allen County at Buckeye Boys State in 1953.

After graduation, Rodney Lynch III, like his father and grandfather, went to work for West Ohio Gas. He also became an avid member of the Lima Exchange Club and proud older brother. In an April 4, 1961, story in the News, he couldn’t help bragging on younger brother Tom, at the time a freshman at the Naval Academy. “This past year the boy looked good and is destined for some great games at the academy,” Rodney told the News.

Thomas C. Lynch was born April 7, 1942. After elementary school at St. John, Tom Lynch entered Lima Central Catholic High School, which was formed in 1956 by the merger of St. John and St. Rose high schools (St. Gerard would join a year later).

By 1957, Tom Lynch was making his mark on LCC’s new football program. “Promising newcomers who brought smiles to (Coach Barney) Otten’s face last week were Tony Perine, 6-3 end from St. Gerard’s; 210-pound Bob Klausing, another St. Gerard’s lad making a strong bid for a tackle berth, and sophomore Tom Lynch, a 195-pounder Otten said, would ‘play somewhere.’” Tom Lynch, who also was a shot-putter on LCC’s first track team, was named to the all-area football team in 1958.

Tom Lynch excelled off the field as well. In June, 1959, he was chosen to attend the Operation Youth Convention, a program designed to introduce junior and senior high school boys to careers, at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Lynch was elected mayor of the convention.

That September, Tom Lynch was selected captain of the T-Bird football team and, the following spring, the athlete of the year at the school. “It’s official now.” the News wrote March 28, 1960. “The 210-pound football lineman — object of the attentions of more than one college grid scout — was named Thunderbird Athlete of the Year at the annual LCC Spring Awards Banquet held in St. Charles Auditorium …” Near the bottom of the same story, the reporter noted, “Jim Lynch, Tom’s younger brother, won the freshman award. He also is a football player.”

On May 9, 1960, Tom Fitzpatrick of the News reported, “Tom Lynch has made up his mind to go to Annapolis now and so he won’t have to worry about college recruiters anymore… Seven schools expressed interest in Tom. They were the Naval Academy, Purdue, Northwestern, Dayton, Tennessee, Ohio State and Toledo.”

Meanwhile, that younger brother, who also was a football player, was coming out of his older brother’s shadow.

James Robert Lynch was born Aug. 28, 1945. Like his brother, Jim Lynch attended St. John Elementary School before entering LCC in 1959. And, like his brother, he gained immediate attention on the football field.

An Oct. 16, 1959, News story recounting a tie game between the LCC reserves and Waynesfield noted, “T-Bird stalwarts were ‘B’ squad captain Jerry Podany, Jim Lynch, Wayne Smith, Gary Smith and Phil DePalma.”

Jim Lynch wasn’t on the ‘B’ team for long. Previewing LCC’s 1962-63 season-opening game against Toledo Rogers on Sept. 7, 1962, the News noted, “Jim Lynch is the bright point of the LCC squad and will play both on offense and defense. (Coach Jim) Weithman believes Lynch, who weighs 210 pounds, is strong enough to handle play in both directions.” Jim Lynch, the story continued, also was a “stalwart” on the LCC basketball and baseball teams. During a basketball win over Fairview in early January 1962, he came off the bench late in the first half to score a field goal and then added five more in the second half to lead his team to the win.

On Dec. 16, 1962, Marie Lynch spoke with News sports editor Ed Plaisted about her children. “We have no set pattern in raising our children,” she told Plaisted. “We have been blessed with very obedient children who are willing to work.” Plaisted continued, “The Lynches who reside at 122 W. Circular St., are the parents of two well-known athletes — Tom, 20, who is captain of the 1963 Navy football team, and Jim, 17, who is one of the best gridders in Lima Central Catholic history. In addition, Rodney L Lynch III, 27, who is married and resides at 820 Burch Ave., and Ray, 12, a student at St. Johns school complete the male section of the family. Not to be forgotten, Mrs. Lynch reminded us, is Cheryl Ann, 7, also a student at St. Johns.”

Next week: Glory Days

Tom Lynch’s team photo from his Navy days. He was center and team captain.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_Tom-Navy.jpgTom Lynch’s team photo from his Navy days. He was center and team captain. Allen County Historical Society photos
Jim Lynch
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_Jim.jpgJim Lynch Allen County Historical Society photos
Tom Lynch and Roger Staubach, when they played at the Naval Academy.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_Lynch_Staubach1.jpgTom Lynch and Roger Staubach, when they played at the Naval Academy. Courtesy of U.S. Naval Academy
An ad published Jan. 7, 1967, congratulates the Lynch family on Jim Lynch being named All American.
https://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/09/web1_NEWS-OH-LI_NE.1967_01_07_0013smaller.jpgAn ad published Jan. 7, 1967, congratulates the Lynch family on Jim Lynch being named All American. Allen County Historical Society photos

By Greg Hoersten

For The Lima News

Part 1 of 2

Reach Greg Hoersten at [email protected]

Reach Greg Hoersten at [email protected]

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