Friends and family members filled the Chilkat Center to standing room Oct. 29 to remember Ted Lynch, a career fisherman known for his calm and friendly demeanor.
Lynch, 61, is presumed drowned after falling off his boat while shrimping near Skagway Oct. 23. Said fisherman Randy Jackson: “Ted Lynch was a good fisherman, a good father, and he was a real good friend to a lot of people. He was a captain among men.”
Lynch, a fourth-generation Alaskan fisherman, made Haines his homeport in the 1980s when wife Holly Irwin chose it. He had planned to buy a house in Skagway, but they stopped here on the way.
“I didn’t know about Skagway, but one look and I knew this is definitely where I wanted to be,” Irwin said. They spent much of the year with their six children on the 48-foot fishing boat Darlin Michele that Lynch built.
Theodore Lanado Lynch was born in Wrangell on Dec. 30, 1950, the fourth child of Seattle fisherman Michael Lynch Jr. and Rosalina Rosita Lanado Lynch.
The Lynches moved to Seattle when Ted was 7, and he and his siblings attended Catholic school. He began fishing summers in Alaska with his father when he was 10, family members said.
Ted and a brother attended a seminary and studied for the priesthood. “In some ways Ted would have been good at it. He was a very good listener, and he was very selfless,” Holly Irwin said. Ted remained a lifelong Catholic.
Nels Lynch said his father loved fishing, and had a reputation for being safe, competent and generous, which came in part from having the family on board. “You can only be so aggressive when you have six kids on the boat.”
Until recently Lynch fished nearly year-round, gillnetting, longlining, crabbing and shrimping. At one time or another, he participated in all Alaska’s major fisheries, working out of Dutch Harbor, Kodiak, Bristol Bay and the Pribilofs, family members said. He fished for tuna with his brothers in Hawaii.
Lynch fished the Sitka sac roe herring fishery with his brothers, nephews, and Nels. John Mitchell was their captain. “Ted’s family had the permit, and I had the boat. Our deal was made on a handshake over 25 years ago,” Mitchell said.
Mitchell said Lynch’s gentle ways would be missed. “I’m a madman, but Ted came on deck each day calm, smiling, ready to go. He was a professional who took up very little space on a boat. He was sensitive to how we all felt.” He said Lynch was an avid reader who kept the boat library up to date.
Aside from fishing, Lynch’s passion was his family. “Ted was most proud of his children and grandchildren,” sister Beanie Marquart said.
This week his children found a notebook with line drawings and diagrams labeled with their names and their pets’ names. Daughter Summer Lynch said it was a code for her father’s favorite fishing locations and gear, which he had named for them. “I’m sure he missed the times when we all lived on the boat, and even though it had been 15 years since then, this was his way of keeping the ones he loved always out there with him.”
Lynch is survived by children Summer Michele, Nels, TeoLani, and Keanu of Haines and by Darlin and Steve Bugni of Yuba City, Calif.; by grandchildren Hawk Sanchez of Yuba City and Lani Lynch of Haines, and by siblings Kathleen “Beanie” Marquart of Portland, Ore., Tanya Bonorden of Sitka, Marilyn Lynch of Seattle, Julianne Frick of Juneau, and Michael “Mickey” Lynch III and Nelson “Rocky” Lynch of Oahu, Hawaii. He also leaves many nieces and nephews, friends, and fishermen which the family calls “the Lynch mob.” His parents and an infant sister, Roberta, preceded him in death.
Another memorial service is planned for Seattle in December. Cards may be sent to P.O. Box 1503, Haines, 99827.