Jan. 15, 1948-Feb. 7, 2018
John Patrick “Jack” Lynch was born to John Patrick “Jack” and Mary Agnes (Green) Lynch on Jan. 15, 1948 in Butte, America. He is the oldest (and he would tell you the wisest) of five siblings. Being first in the family, Jack showed Frank, Jerry, Gary and Mary Ann the ropes.
Jack was raised on Lowell Avenue and was proud to be a St. John’s Fighting Eagle. In the summers, he and his brothers loved playing baseball and being outside with the neighborhood kids. Protecting their baby sister, Mary Anne, of course came with the territory. He often recalled the freedom of being raised in Butte and the only rule was to make sure he and his siblings were home when the streetlights came on. Summers were spent camping, fishing and picnicking with the Green and Driscoll cousins. His early days included being an altar boy with his brothers where they would play poker with Father Don Shea when services were over. Jack went on to attend Boys’ Central and the University of Montana. He then spent the next 40 years dedicating his life to public service. He considered it a true honor and privilege to serve others in this capacity.
Jack didn’t just talk about values. He demonstrated them through his daily interactions in his personal and professional life. Jack will best be remembered by what he was – a Butte Irish Democrat. His passion for politics shaped his every interaction. He was the son of a Union Teamster and he never forgot his roots. His parents valued education and worked hard to ensure their children received every opportunity. He would never tell you, but Jack was the first in his family to graduate from college. Jack was a tireless advocate for the underdog. Everyone was an equal in his eyes and everyone had something to contribute to the world. He cared for his community and his constituents in a way that’s best measured by the stories that have been shared with us after his passing. We’ve learned about how he helped a struggling father pay for his last semester of college, a colleague get into an apartment and out of a bad situation, and how he would never pass a homeless person on the street without an acknowledgement and something out of his pocket. Upon moving to Spokane, he used to joke that he ran a bed and breakfast. He and Paula loved any chance they got to host someone from Butte and he especially loved talking about Zag basketball with Sean Shields.
Family was everything to Jack. After being set up on a blind date, he knew it was fate when he met Paula Rotar. He often joked that Paula, an Uptown girl, was a “social climber” trying to marry a boy from the Flats. He affectionately renamed her “Mrs. Lucky.” His kids were the loves of his life. His oldest, Erin was the first to leave their house when she went to college in Seattle. According to Jack, it was her city and he loved traveling to Seattle to visit her. Jack’s smile spread from ear to ear when Ryan followed his footsteps into public service and was sworn in as a State Representative. Maura, his caboose, was the apple of his eye and the world would stop when Maura called or showed up. Jack would drop everything to have Maura and her college buddies up to the Spokane house where they would have dinner and spend the evening talking about politics and the world. He was the dad that took his girls wedding dress shopping and always said that he couldn’t have found two better men for his daughters. Jack was so proud of the families that his children developed and spent the last year babysitting his partner-in-crime, Baby Jack. He would sing Baby Jack songs for hours on end and share his ice cream with Baby Jack over his parent’s objections. Jack was many things in life, but his greatest accomplishment was being “Pops” with the love of his life, “Lolli.”
Later in life, he found his second calling -- being on lake time. Any concerns we had about Jack being able to relax in retirement were quickly put to rest. He always started his mornings with coffee on the deck surrounded by old friends and creating new ones. His evenings typically ended with a meal shared with the Rotar, Casey and Downey families. His friends from Butte were family to him and always encouraged to stop by. Some days he got around to watering the lawn, but he would never fret because “it would always be there tomorrow.”
Jack was preceded in death by his father, John Patrick ‘Jack’; his mother, Mary Agnes and his brother, Gary (survived by Kathy Vogelsang). He is survived by his wife of 41 years, Paula Rotar and their three children, Erin (Scott), Ryan, Maura (Cody) and his grandson, Jack. Michael Tracey, Jack and Paula’s Little Brother, held a dear place in Jack’s heart. He is also survived by his brothers and their families -- Frank, Jan, John, and Kiel (Jessica); and Jerry and his wife, Teri, and their children, Marci (Brian Topel), Gary, Jered (Leah Hathaway), Brian (Shannon) and their grandchildren, Abby, Gavin, Nolan, and Colin, Mary, Jeremiah Ronan, Jude, and Luke; his sister, who made time stop, Mary Ann Pendergast (Dave Susanj), Sydney and Payton; his Aunt Dorothy Green and his many cousins, the Greens, the Driscolls and Tom Power’s family were also special to him. His relatives also included Mark and Wanda Rotar and their children, Sarah (Alex Moore), Stephanie (Joe Faurholt) and Chris Rotar; Maura and Chris Casey; and Steve Rotar.
Thank you Dad for the time you spent with us. You were generous, loyal, selfless, and authentic. Your Irish wit was untouchable. You always took the time to ask how everyone around you was doing. You listened without interruption. You, Jack Lynch, were an absolute role model. There’s no way to thank you, except to always vote Democrat, drink good coffee, and care for each other. We will live by your principles forever.
Visitation will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 13, at St. Ann’s Catholic Church. A Mass will be conducted at 1 p.m. to celebrate Jack’s life. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to either: Gary Lynch Memorial Scholarship, P.O. 172750, Bozeman, Montana 59717-2750; Butte Central Catholic Education Foundation, 550 E. Mercury St., Butte, Montana 59701; or the Butte-Silver Bow Democratic Committee, P.O Box 4744, Butte, Montana 59701.