Longtime Director of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) Organization Department, John P. “Jack” Lynch, passed away March 5 at age 77. Mr. Lynch started at the College on April 25, 1977, as the Director of the Organization Department (now under the Division of Member Services umbrella) and held that position until his retirement on December 31, 2001.
“Epitome of a College staffer”
“He was the epitome of a College staffer—excellent in his work, devoted to and proud of the organization—and exemplary in his personal life,” noted David L. Nahrwold, MD, FACS, who met Mr. Lynch while serving on the Executive Committee of the Board of Governors.
Mr. Lynch worked with many levels of the Fellowship, including the Board of Governors, the ACS Chapter leaders, and members of various standing committees, according to Sally Garneski, Manager of Public Information and Electronic Publishing in the ACS Division of Integrated Communications.
“Jack was extremely well-liked by Fellows of the College, especially the Governors and the Chapter Officers. He was also well-liked by the Regents and Officers of ACS,” said Linn Meyer, former Director of the Division of Integrated Communications and currently Executive Consultant to the ACS.
“He was staff to the Governors, and came to Executive Committee meetings, making sure we followed the proper procedures for the conduct of our meetings, in nominating new Governors, and managing the Governors’ committees,” said Dr. Nahrwold, Past-Chair of the ACS Board of Governors, Past ACS Regent, and former Interim Director of the ACS.
“Later, when I was Chair of the Board of Governors for two years, I insisted that I read all of the Governors’ reports and personally write the summary report to the Board of Regents. He was very patient with me and supported my deviation from normal practice, which was for the College staff to write the reports,” Dr. Nahrwold said. “He helped me put together the agenda for the annual meeting of the Governors. I was grateful that he helped me understand the culture of the College and its procedures, lessons that were invaluable to me later in my College activities.”
Dr. Nahrwold commended Mr. Lynch for his institutional knowledge and understanding of the politics in organized
medicine—particularly his familiarity with The Joint Commission, the American Board of Medical Specialties, the individual medical and surgical boards, and the Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education.
“Delivering quality service is such a key success factor for any professional organization, and Jack directed a team that serviced all levels of the College’s membership so well, for so many years,” said Ms. Garneski, who began her career at the ACS in 1983 as an Executive Secretary in the Organization Department, reporting to Mr. Lynch. “I was fortunate to be part of that team when I first came to the College, and the experience is still continuing to serve me well 30 years later. He encouraged professional growth for College staff, and his support led me to pursue a position of more responsibility in the Office of Public Information of the ACS Communications Department a couple of years later.”
Dedication to service
Despite all of his accomplishments, Mr. Lynch is fondly remembered as humble, kindhearted, and self-effacing. “Jack was an extremely modest man. He did not seek recognition, nor did he state his views on controversial issues, I believe because he did not feel it was appropriate for him as a staff member to influence decisions of the Fellowship,” Dr. Nahrwold said. “He never bragged about anything, except on one occasion when he said, ‘I have the greatest children.’”
“Jack was a truly good and kind person. I don’t think he had a mean bone in his body,” added Ms. Meyer.
In his retirement, Mr. Lynch volunteered at the Howard Area Community Center in Chicago, IL. Mr. Lynch wanted to better serve the low-income patients that the center assists and became a registered pharmaceutical patient advocate so that he could help patients complete their medication-related forms. He volunteered for a number of other community organizations as well, including the Evanston-Rogers Park Family Health Center and the Ignatian Lay Volunteer Corps. In July 2004, Mr. Lynch received a commendation from the Board of Commissioners of Cook County recognizing his dedication to volunteerism.
Mr. Lynch also devoted time during his retirement to reading, especially books on history, sociology, and religion, and cheering for the Chicago White Sox.
Mr. Lynch and his late wife Margaret M. (nee Gschwend) were the proud parents of six children—Terrence (Kath), Todd, Maureen (David Oif), Kathleen (John) White, Christopher, and the late Brian—and 11 grandchildren. Mr. Lynch had two siblings, Thomas Lynch and the late Nancy McGoldrick, and is survived by many nieces and nephews.