Firefighter, Fisherman And Family Peacemaker

January 24, 2002

When Michael Francis Lynch told his father that he wanted to join the fire department, John Lynch tried his darnedest to douse the idea.

Safety concerns prompted him to ask his son to drop his plan. But Lynch, the seventh of 10 children of two Irish immigrants, was headstrong. "He told me his whole ambition was to become a firefighter," his father said. "The day he became a firefighter was the happiest day of his life. He was ecstatic about firefighting. He loved people and loved to help people."

But Lynch's love also was focused on one person in particular. On Nov. 16, he was to marry his teenage sweetheart, Stephanie Luccioni, a guidance counselor at Christ the King Regional High School in Middle Village.

That Lynch might choose a career in public service was not surprising given that he often played the role of diplomat in a Throgs Neck, Bronx, household where verbal fisticuffs could break out at the drop of a hat. "We called him 'the Peacemaker,'" his father said. "In a big family like ours, everyone had different political affiliations. He didn't like conflict. He'd always defuse arguments with a joke or one- liner."

In his off hours, Lynch, who sported a Celtic Cross tattoo on his left arm, could often be found working as a DJ at weddings and parties in Throgs Neck, tailoring the music to the crowd and making sure the dance floor was filled. In his leisure time, he frequently took rod and reel in hand along with his fiancee, his father or another relative or friend. Inevitably, fishing outings - whether to Florida or to the waters around Throgs Neck - became a contest to see who could land "the big one."

"There was always competition," his father said. "With the whole family. It puts a little spice in it."

Lynch, a graduate of Cardinal Spellman High School and Iona College, joined the New York Fire Department in 1999 and was assigned to Ladder Co. 32/Engine Co. 62. On Sept. 11, Lynch, 30, was on rotation to Engine Co. 40 in Manhattan. The day of the terrorist attacks, he was last seen at the corner of Church and Liberty streets, probably on his way to Tower Two shortly before it collapsed.

In the days afterward, his father walked through Ground Zero with two of his sons, coming to grips with the reality that Lynch would not return.

In addition to his parents, John and Kathleen, Lynch is survived by his brother John and his wife, LouAnn, of Cincinnati; sister Kathleen and her husband, Mark Multerer, of Buffalo; sister Maureen and her husband, Thomas Baker, of Westfield, N.J.; brother Fred and his wife, Ruth, of Chester, N.J.; brother Patrick of Manhattan; brother Kevin and his wife, Deborah, of Huntington; brother Thomas and his wife, Tracy, of the Bronx; sister Colleen and her husband, Jason Parigen, of Cincinnati, and brother Paul of Throgs Neck.

-- Ken Schachter (Newsday)