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Former Park High principal and teacher Martin Lynch dies

Former Park High School principal Martin Lynch died of liver cancer June 26 at his St. Paul Park home.

"He was one of the best principals Park High School ever had," said Granville "Granny" Smith, retired Park teacher and longtime baseball coach.

Lynch, and his wife, Doralene "Dolly," came to Park in 1954 from the Howard Lake Waverly school district. He was an English teacher in the old Park High School in St. Paul Park.

The couple would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary in August.

When the new Park High School in Cottage Grove opened in 1965, Lynch was the school's first assistant principal until 1968 when he was named district personnel director. He was a secondary administrator until 1981 when he was named Park High principal, with a short stint as superintendent, where he served until his retirement in 1985. He came out of retirement for a short time as interim superintendent.

"He was a good teacher," he said. "I never heard one kid say anything bad about him."

Smith said Lynch was a "nice guy" and "very talented."

Those retiring from the district asked Lynch to make comments at their celebrations because he had a way with words. He had a dry sense of humor. Smith said he wasn't always sure whether he was kidding or not.

Early on in their teaching careers, Dan Moriarty Sr., Stan Parish, Bob Prigge, Tom Bell and Lynch met in late summer for a steak fry before school started, according to Smith, who said their first get-together was in 1954 and continues to this day.

The group has dwindled because Parish is dead and Prigge lives in Texas.

This year, those remaining have discussed getting together at a local restaurant instead.

Former School Board Member Gene Zacho, who served while Lynch was an administrator, said he could always rely on Lynch to accurately assess a situation and tell the truth.

"He wanted every kid to be successful," Zacho said.

Carol Mavetz, the youngest of the seven Lynch children, said her father gave her a stern look if she misbehaved. "He was a disciplinarian when he had to," she said. "He was a teacher."

Mavetz, and her older sister, Mary Salk, remember him as a loving father who was also a "goofy dad" with a great sense of humor who could burst into song on occasion.

On his salary, he put us through college, Salk said.

Hundreds of mourners attended the visitation for Lynch held Monday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m., including Bell, longtime Park High School biology teacher.

Bell said most teachers remember Lynch as the best principal they served under.

"Teachers looked forward to his weekly newsletters," Bell said. "He was a very good writer."

Lynch is survived by his wife, Dolly; children Kate Lynch (Jerry) Bix, Mary (Jim) Salk, Betty (Rick) Tintor, Tom (Jill) Lynch, Mike (Mena) Lynch, Barbara Lynch, Carol (Ron) Mavetz; 15 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, brother Neill O'Neill Sr., and many nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by a son, Joey; his parents Joseph and Martha, brothers Edwin James and Robert O'Neill.

A mass of Christian burial was held Tuesday, June 30, with interment in the church cemetery.