Gerald Vincent "Jerry " Lynch Obituary
It is with deep sadness that we note the passing of Jerry Lynch, President of the parade committee, one of the parade founders and Grand Marshal in 1982.
Gerald Vincent LYNCH, of Wall, N.J., formerly of Belmar, N.J., passed away on April 6 at Jersey Shore Medical Center due to coronavirus complications.
Jerry was born in Bayonne in 1925 to Jeremiah and Mary Driscoll Lynch. From an early age Jerry developed a reputation as an exceptional singer, and he would go on to be regarded as one of the great tenors in the state of New Jersey, known for singing show music, sacred hymns, and Irish songs. As a young man Jerry sang on Broadway, most prominently as a member of the 1951 production cast of “Where’s Charley?” starring Ray Bolger; fittingly, Jerry played a singer. After some years on tour Jerry grew weary of the road and returned to New Jersey, and worked for Western Electric Co. in Kearny.
It would not be long before Jerry met the love of his life, Frances Largey. They married on November 22, 1958; as Fran is fond of saying, “Sure, ‘twas a match made in heaven!”. Jerry and Fran lived in Orange, and while living there Jerry was a member of the choir of the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart in Newark.
In 1963 Jerry would open Jerry Lynch’s Hotel in Belmar which would become one of the great Jersey Shore summer bars and entertainment venues over the course of its 20 years of operation. Jerry would also own and operate the Erin Hotel, and was also partner in Steve Gepp’s Pub. Jerry would become an active member of the New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association, eventually serving as president of the organization.
Soon after opening Lynch’s Hotel, Jerry and Fran moved to Belmar where they would become immersed in community life. They became parishioners at St. Rose parish where Jerry served as choir member and soloist for over 40 years. Jerry also served on the Board Education in Belmar for 12 years. He joined the Belmar Kiwanis Club and served as its president.
Jerry’s community involvement would help raise the profile of Belmar on the state scene. In the later 1960s Jerry was among the key figures in forming the Jersey Shore Summer Basketball League, with his team winning the first 6 league championships. What made Jerry most proud was his role in establishing what is now known as the Belmar-Lake Como St. Patrick’s Day Parade, first held in 1974. For as long as his health would allow Jerry marched annually wearing his “founder” sash as the parade continued to grow into one of the largest and best attended parades in the state.
After leaving the hotel business Jerry became a Real Estate salesman with the MacGowan Agency of Spring Lake and Belmar. Jerry and Fran would retire to Wall in 1997 and became parishioners of St. Denis in Manasquan, where Jerry would continue to sing as choir member and soloist for as long as he was able. He remained a prominent tenor and was a featured singer at many Irish-American events.
Jerry was a member of many civic associations, most especially the Jerry Lynch Social and Civic Club. He was also a member of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick of the Jersey Shore, which named him Irishman of the Year in 2015. He was also a member of the Friendly Sons of the Shillelagh of the Jersey Shore, The B.P.O.E. of Manasquan, the IrishAmerican Society of the Oranges, and the Msgr. Thomas U. Reilly Council of the Knights of Columbus.
Jerry is survived by Frances, his beloved wife of over 61 years, as well as 2 sisters, Eileen (the late William) McMahon and Regina (the late Maurice) Reidy. He was predeceased by his brother John and his wife Geraldine, and sister Margaret and her husband Ernie Altobelle. He is also survived by his in-laws Marion and Joseph Alexander and Dorothy Largey, wife of the late Harry Largey. He was also predeceased by in-laws Katherine and Raymond Donahue, Robert and Marguerite Largey, William and Gloria Largey, and John Stanley Largey. He had 29 loving nieces and nephews, 26 of whom are still living, and many great-nieces and great-nephews.
Due to the coronavirus crisis, the burial service for Jerry will be private. A memorial mass will be held at St. Rose’s Church, Belmar, NJ at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Rose Grammar School, 605 6th Avenue, Belmar, NJ, 07719.
O’Brien Funeral Home, Wall Township is in charge of the arrangements. To offer condolences please visit www.OBrienFuneralHome.com.
We are interested in learning how we might improve our parade in the future by requesting feedback from those who attended this years parade.
FROM North: NJ Turnpike South to Garden State Parkway South, to exit 98. Take 138 east to end. Stay left to Rt. 35 North.
FROM South: NJ Turnpike North to 195 East, Take 195 East to end. Stay left to Rt. 35 North.
FROM West: Take 295 to 195 East, Take 195 East to end. Stay left to Rt. 35 North.
RT. 35 North: about 1 mile to Belmar Marina, Park in Marina, Parade on Main St.