Loretta Lynch

Jan. 26, 1939 - June 06, 2016
Loretta Lynch - Jan. 26, 1939 - June 06, 2016

Loretta Lynch, a former custodial worker at East Hampton High School whose care extended to all of the students she came in contact with, many of whom called her “Ma,” died on June 6 at the William Childs Hospice House in Palm Bay, Fla. She was 77 and had been diagnosed with late-stage lung cancer in late May.

Ms. Lynch “dished out plenty of wisdom” to the youngsters she befriended, her family said. Acting far beyond her custodial duties at the school, where she worked for 26 years, she served as “psychologist, social worker, disciplinarian, rescuer, and friend” to the youngsters who turned to her with their problems. She helped many of them reach graduation, the family said, by acting as a “positive, caring, supportive, and often tough role model.” Many of those whose lives she touched kept in contact over the years, well past their high school days.

She was born in the Bronx on Jan. 26, 1939, the youngest of three children born to Kenneth R. and Nellie A. Wilson. Her family moved to Montauk when she was a teenager, and she attended East Hampton High School.

She was married on Dec. 31, 1959, to Robert W. Lynch, who died before her. The couple raised two sons, Robert W. Lynch III, known as Bobby, and Stephen K. Lynch.

Ms. Lynch had a “fiery spirit,” her family said, and “knew that the only way to truly live was to engage in life with gusto, use elbow grease to get the job done, and do all things with love in service to God.”

She didn’t mince words and had a tough outer shell, her family said, but would pray for all she loved, even those “on her list” of people who had gone astray. A warm person with a caring, sensitive heart, she made friends wherever she went.

In 1995, Ms. Lynch retired to her house in Barefoot Bay, Fla., where she volunteered at a soup kitchen, helped the homeless, and volunteered at the Sebastian River Medical Center. She joined the Moose Lodge and a group called the Orioles, enjoyed swimming, and attended St. Elizabeth’s Episcopal Church.  Her religion grew more important to her in recent years, and she was devoted to Bible study over the last several of them.

Ms. Lynch is survived by her son, Stephen K. Lynch, the East Hampton Town Highway superintendent. She was like a mother to his wife, Regina, for the last 35 years, the family said. She is also survived by three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Her eldest son, Bobby Lynch, died before her. She also leaves three nieces and seven grandnieces and grandnephews.

Services are to be held at the East Hampton Fire Department, but a date has not yet been set.