Bill Lynch’s productive life celebrated

Herb Boyd | 8/22/2013, 11:54 a.m. | Updated on 8/22/2013, 11:54 a.m.
Delivering the eulogy for Bill Lynch Jr. at Riverside Church last Thursday, the Rev. Michael Waldron of First Corinthian Baptist ...
Bill Lynch's Funeral

Lynch would have loved the rendition of “Amazing Grace” performed by trumpeter Wynton Marsalis and his ensemble. It had a traditional New Orleans touch to it with a hymnal beginning that gradually morphed into a “didn’t he ramble” second line romp as they marched out of the sanctuary. There was no marching down the aisle for the Ebony Ecumenical Choir, but they did walk to the stage for two songs, and “I Don’t Feel Noways Tired” was more than appropriate for the tireless Lynch.

Equally uplifting was Donnie McClurkin’s always rewarding treatment of “Stand,” which brought many folks to their feet, as they all did when commanded by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. “Give Bill Lynch a round of applause,” he said. “Bill was a compassionate man who did his best work when no one was looking.”

“He knew what buttons to push to bring about solutions,” said Rangel. “And even more, he allowed people to think.”

Like the Revs. Stephen Phelps, Linda Tarry-Chard and Dr. James Forbes, Basil Paterson extended his thanks to the family, “particularly to Mary,” Lynch’s widow, “for sharing Bill with us for so many years.”

The NAACP’s venerable leader Hazel Dukes recounted her days with Lynch in Nassau County and later as a supporter of her organization. “Words cannot convey the respect I had for him,” she said.

Nor could Local 1199 leader George Gresham help but extend his appreciation for Lynch when he summoned a contingent of rank-and-file members to join him on the stage with signs that read, “Thank you, Bill.”

“I often asked Bill why he chose to sit in the back of the room all the time,” said Leonard Riggio, his friend and partner in a non-denominational church they founded. “‘I can see everything from the back,’ he said.”

And perhaps he could see all of this looking down.