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Obituary: Carolyn Lynch, wife, mother, philanthropist


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The pastor of her home parish, Our Lady Star of the Sea in Marblehead said "she was our shining star." Father Kevin O'Leary, rector of the Metropolitan Cathedral of the Holy Cross said "We have been friends for years. She and Peter have been supports of many Catholic endeavors, especially our schools." Regarding the couple's support of Peter's alma mater, Boston College, Jesuit Father William Leahy, the university president said "Along with her husband Peter she has left a lasting legacy at Boston College." The generosity of the couple to BC is well known and their passion for education is enshrined on the Heights with the naming of the School of Education: Carolyn A. and Peter S. Lynch School of Education.

Born in rural Pennsylvania, Carolyn Ann Hoff attended school where her father was principal. She pointed to that simple fact as the reason for her interest in and commitment to education. She met her husband, Peter while she was a student at University of Pennsylvania where Peter was a graduate student at its prestigious Wharton School of Business.

They married and Peter's fabled career at Fidelity took off. Never forgetting their own roots, and amassing a fortune, they turned it back to others. They raised three daughters Mary Witkowski, Brookline; Annie Lukowski, Los Angeles, Calif.; and Elizabeth de Montrichard, Boston.

In addition to Boston College, Emmanuel College and other institutions, the archdiocese of Boston's Catholic Schools have benefitted from the generous support both material and personal of both Peter and Carolyn. Cardinal O'Malley said "Carolyn Lynch dedicated her life to helping children realize their potential, especially those coming from underprivileged circumstances. Through her passionate commitment to education, Carolyn provided countless young women and men the opportunity to achieve new levels of success."

Mrs. Lynch was also an accomplished bridge player. Having taken up the game several years ago while she was recuperating at home, she became a star on another stage, piling up local and regional championships and five national ones in the American Contract Bridge League. Of her favored pastime she said "Every time I sat down to play, I was happy. Some people read books. Some people take walks. I play bridge."

Mrs. Lynch died on Oct. 1 following the onset of an aggressive form of leukemia. Father Michael Steele, her Marblehead parish's pastor, was the principal celebrant and homilist of her private funeral Mass at the parish on Oct. 10; in addition to Father O'Leary among the invited concelebrants was BC President Father William Leahy, SJ. Merrimack Regional Bishop Robert Hennessey was present at the Mass, delivered a personal message from Cardinal O'Malley who was in Rome; and celebrated the Rite of Final Commendation.

In addition to her husband Peter, and her three daughters, Mrs. Lynch is survived by six grandchildren and two sisters: Melanie Rapp, Dover, Del. and Madalin O'Brien, Reading, Penn.

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