Elinor Tatum (28139)

I don’t remember when I met Bill Lynch for the first time. It must have been when I was a little girl at my father’s side. I saw how my father and Bill interacted. I saw how they sought counsel from one another and how they sometimes battled over the direction in which the city was going. I always knew how important those conversations were, and at the end, there was always a hug and a “see you soon, brother.”

As I rose in the ranks of the Amsterdam News, I became part of those conversations on what the future would hold for our community and our city. Now it was I who was plotting and planning with Bill.

After my father died in 2009, Bill became even more important to me. He became, in a sense, a surrogate father. Whether it was an issue about the Amsterdam News or a personal one, he was always there. He was there at my wedding; he was there to meet my daughter.

In 2010, when the paper was having a particularly hard time, we set up a standing meeting at his office—every Tuesday at 1 p.m. at Bill Lynch Associates. Sometimes we had real work to do, and at other times, it was a mere check-in visit. There were times when the meeting was cancelled because of other pressing issues or sometimes illness, but I always knew that there would be a meeting next week or a voice at the other end of the phone.

The loss of Bill Lynch is personal, but this is also a great loss for our community and the city as a whole. Bill touched the lives of so many. He was the consigliere to mayors and presidential candidates, to CEOs and first-run candidates. He was in it for the long haul and fought the good fight. He trained and/or mentored almost all of the young Black political aspirants and operatives in this city and had his hand in almost every major Black issue in New York.

Bill was a kingmaker and a connector. He helped to make New York a better place, a friendlier place.

I am not sure what the future holds for this city, but I know that Bill has trained the next generations of leaders. He prepared us for the future fights and has set us on our way to continue the work that he has done. I will miss you, Bill Lynch. May your spirit soar and guide us all.