Dad Buries Hero Son And Digs On at WTC

Daily News Staff Writers

For months the father of Firefighter Michael Lynch dug day after day in the ruins of the World Trade Center hunting for his lost son.

The long search came to an end March 22 when Jack Lynch led his family in helping firefighters carry out the body of his boy, whose Bronx funeral yesterday was attended by hundreds of relatives, friends and Mayor Bloomberg.

But the grieving dad, a retired transit worker, still hasn't stopped digging, hoping to end the nightmarish wait endured by families of other victims.

"He's down there just about every day," said retired Firefighter Lee Ielpi, who lost his own firefighter son in the terror attack.

"After his son, he's still there. He wants to help 3,000 families recover their loved ones."

Remembered as Fun-Loving

After the service was over, a funeral director handed Jack Lynch a crucifix, which he held in his palm at St. Frances de Chantal Church in Throgs Neck.

Michael Lynch's mother and his fiancee, Stephanie Luccioni, listened as he was remembered as a fun-loving prankster. The seventh of 10 brothers and sisters, Lynch, 30, loved to dance and often served as a deejay at neighborhood parties and family functions.

Even though Lynch could spew one-liners like a pro, he will always be remembered as a hero.

Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, the Catholic leader of the nation's capital and Lynch's great-uncle, told the family that he prayed none of them ever meet the same fate.

"Some of us have to live for other people," McCarrick said. "Some of us have to die for others."

One of Lynch's last moments alive was actually captured on videotape. The firefighter, serving with Engine Co. 40 on the upper West Side, looked straight into the camera before he walked into the burning south tower.

Mayor Salutes 'Great Legacy'

"Because of Michael and the others, we'll all be safer," Bloomberg said at the funeral.

"People will see a better world. That's a great legacy."

Lynch's body was carried to the church on a fire rig and carried inside accompanied by the mournful strains of bagpipers. Under a brilliant blue sky, a helicopter on a ceremonial fly-over cast a shadow on his hearse as it moved away from the church on Hollywood Ave.

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta, who attended a memorial service for Lynch in December, told mourners Lynch lived up to every expectation set for him by his ancestors.

"It used to be said of Irish warriors that they were lions on the battlefield and lambs at home," Scoppetta said.

"Mike followed that tradition."

Original Publication Date: 5/4/02

Parents Kathleen (l.) and Jack (c.) attend the funeral of FDNY firefighter Michael Lynch yesterday with their other children and Michael's fiance, Stephanie Luccioni.