Edwin F. Lynch, a retired longtime Baltimore County public schools educator who loved animals, died Dec. 13 from complications from Alzheimer’s disease at Brightview Assisted Living in Bel Air. The lifelong Fallston resident was 89.
“He was a very pleasant and thoughtful person. He was sort of quiet but he was an all-around respectful person — and my best friend,” said Henry P. Guercio, a Bel Air businessman who grew up with Mr. Lynch and attended grammar school and high school with him.
“He was one of a kind and a person to look up to,” said Todd Holden, a Harford County photographer and former reporter for The Aegis. “He and his wife were good friends of my dad. When I was little, dad would take me to [Mr. Lynch’s] farm to see the animals.
Edwin Francis Lynch was born in Baltimore and lived the rest of his life on a small farm in Fallston. He was the son of John D. Lynch, a mechanic who delivered milk to a Baltimore dairy, and Mary E. Terry Lynch, a secretary and bookkeeper at Motor Sales in Bel Air,
He was a 1945 graduate of Bel Air High School and received a bachelor’s degree in agriculture in 1950 from the University of Maryland, College Park. He later obtained a master’s degree in education from what is now Towson University.
Mr. Lynch met his future wife, the former Martha Spry, at Bel Air High School, where they were both students.
“He was a big shot senior and I was a lowly freshman,” she recalled. They married in 1950.
Jim Kehoe, a Bel Air High School graduate and University of Maryland track star who later served as athletic director at College Park from 1969 to 1978, was an influence on Mr. Lynch.
“The story I heard was that Francis was a good student and always got good marks, and it was Jim Kehoe who talked him into going to college,” recalled Mr. Guercio.
Mr. Lynch began his teaching career in 1950 with Kent County public schools in Chestertown. He taught agriculture there until 1954 when he joined Baltimore County public schools, teaching science at Carroll Manor Junior High School.
During the 1960s he taught science at Parkville Junior High School, then joined the faculty of Dulaney High School in the 1970s. He chaired the science department until retiring in 1989.
Mr. Lynch’s lifelong interest in biology and nature led him to raise and foster animals. He created a zoomobile, sponsored by the Maryland Academy of Sciences, that contained his collection of reptiles. He took them to Baltimore recreation centers for the enjoyment of children.
“One [child] told his mother, ‘There’s that snake man!’ The snakes impressed them,” Mr. Lynch said in a 2012 interview when he was named a Harford County Living Treasure. “I had a garter snake and other snakes that weren’t poisonous, and I used to let them handle them if they wanted to.”
Mr. Lynch liked to speak about his time growing up in Harford County. He raised livestock on his farm and enjoyed gardening and thoroughbred horse racing. At one time had raised several horses that raced at Maryland tracks.
An avid tennis player, he continued playing until he was 88.
“We played together for 26 years every Monday and Thursday until June 2016,” Mr. Guercio said.
“I used to call them the Geezer Group,” his wife said.
He also enjoyed playing gin and pitch whenever “an opponent was ready,” his wife said.
Mr. Lynch was a lifelong parishioner of St. Mark Roman Catholic Church in Fallston, beginning as an altar boy and becoming a founding member of its religious education committee.
A Mass of Christian burial was offered Monday.
“When I walked into church for his Mass, the priest was shaking hands,” Mr. Guercio said. “I told him that Ed had been the best man at our wedding and he replied: ‘He was the best man everywhere.’”
In addition to his wife, who had been a special education teacher, Mr. Lynch is survived by a son, Kevin Lynch of Joppa; five daughters, Diana Sedney of Falls Church, Va., Terry DePasquale of Manasquan, N.J., Gail Fletcher of Putney, Vt., Victoria Jordan of Richmond, Va. and Lisa Vadas of Stewartstown, Pa.; 17 grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.