Holyoke Fire Chief’s Funeral

by Laurel | April 25th, 2012

Chief John T. Lynch, age 65, of the Holyoke Fire Department died on 22 April, 1915, after a long illness. He was born in Ireland and came to Holyoke in 1866, joining the Fire Department in 1869 where he served for more than thirty years. Lynch distinguished himself during the Precious Blood Church fire in May, 1875 saving many lives through his bravery and fast thinking. He leaves his widow, Anastasia Hardy, whom he married in 1887 and one son, Frank A. Lynch.

Chief John T. Lynch

Chief John T. Lynch

25 April 1915

City Officials Are Among Thousands Who Attend, Stores Close.
Eulogy is Delivered
Character of Chief Praised by Clergyman; Comrades Pay Tribute

Solemn and impressive ceremonies marked the funeral of John T. Lynch, chief of the Holyoke Fire Department, which took place this morning in his residence, 101 Elm Street. It was one of the largest funerals and most splendid tributes ever accorded a citizen of the city, and was convincing proof of the high regard with which the chief was held by all citizens, not only of the city, but of surrounding cities. As an additional mark of respect all of the principal stores of the city remained closed during the funeral hours. Throngs of people viewed the funeral procession as it passed through the streets on its way to St. Jerome Cemetery, where burial took place.

The funeral was attended by representatives from all city departments, including the Mayor and the members of city government. Delegations from the various fraternal societies, of which the chief was a member, also attended.

At the close of the funeral mass Rt. Rev. Mgr. John T. Madden, V.G., delivered the eulogy, paying tribute to the sterling qualities which have endeared the chief to all those with whom he came in contact. An impressive ceremony took place in the cemetery when the firemen of the honorary escort passed before the grave, each dropping a bouquet of roses on the casket of their leader as it lay in its final resting place.

The funeral procession left the residence at 9:45 o’clock, entering St. Jerome Church 15 minutes later. The honorary escort was led by a platoon of 16 policemen under the command of Sergt. P. F. Ryan, followed by a detail of 60 firemen, including men from different ranks of the department, all under the command of First Deputy Chief Patrick J. Hurley.

Tombstone, St. Jerome, Chief John T. Lynch, side 1

Tombstone, St. Jerome, Chief John T. Lynch, side 1

Tombstone, St. Jerome, Chief John T. Lynch, side 1

Tombstone, St. Jerome, Chief John T. Lynch, side 1

Veteran Firemen in Line

Edwin A. Whiting Veteran Firemen’s Association was next in line with the following representatives: John H. Byrnes, city almoner; John lee, Ira J. Humes, C.D. Colson, Charles Sittard, Frank Shelley, Levi Pillsbury, Thomas F. Kilbride, J.O. Rogers, Robert Neil, James Vaughan, George Murphy, John Prentiss, John O’Rourke, F.A. Gleason, Charles Evans and George B. Cassidy.

Then came three automobiles from the Central fire station draped in black and driven by Thomas J. Fallon, John O’Hare and P.E. Smith. Behind them followed the horse drawn wagon from the Elmwood engine house, driven by P.J. Kennedy. This wagon was also draped in black and carried the floral tributes.

Next in line followed the delegations composing the city officials, visiting chiefs and representatives of the societies and fraternal orders to which Chief Lynch belonged. The Chiefs Club of Massachusetts was represented by Chief W. H. Daggett, Springfield; Chief T.C. Gleason, Ware; Chief John E. Pomphret, Chicopee; Chief Thomas H. Mahoney, Westfield; and Chief Fred W. Chase, Northampton. In addition Fire Commisioner P.H. Quinn, Springfield, and Lieut. D. J. Haggerty, Chicopee, attended.

The following members of the city government were present in the honorary escort: Mayor John H. Woods, City Solicitor Thomas C. Maher, President William E. Bosworth of the Board of Aldermen, Aldermen Albert Archambault, William G. Cantin, Frederick Childs, James E. Crean, Joseph F. Griffin, George E. Hamel, Samuel O. Hoyt, Pierre Jarry, Daniel Long, Charles M. McMahon, Louis Provost, Daniel F. Shea, John Stalker, james F. Sweeney and Henry F. Thorpe; Judge John Hildreth, clerk of the Fire Board; Dr. John S. Lyon of the Chamber of Commerce, City Auditor Daniel W. Kenney, Tax collector, James M. Kennedy, City Messenger William T. Walsh, Chairman of the Board of Assessors, Joseph J. Kelly and City Clerk John F. Sheehanb.

The following honorary bearers represented the Holyoke Lodge of Elks: E. H. Friedrich, R.P. Cunningham, W. D. Ballard, G. J. Prew, John J. Kirkpatrick, John J. Finn, R. P. Donoghue and former Mayor Nathan P. Avery. An escort from the Robert Emmet society marched as follows: Jeremiah J. Keane, P. J. Judge, John Sheehan, John Fitzgerald and Cornelius M. Donnelly.

Helmet is carried

Following the honorary escort came the hearse and directly in back came the chief’s automobile, draped in black with the white helmet of the chief resting on the back seat. It was driven by Lieut. John H. Lally. The remainder of the funeral cortege was given over to the family, relatives and friends.

At the church and grave there were many of Holyoke’s prominent citizens, including member of every municipal board, commission and public office, but in most cases the entire commissions were represented. Attending the funeral were Chairmen Robert E. Newcomb, and Commissioners Charles U. Roy and James H. O’Connell of the Board of Fire commissioners, also former Commissioner Sidney E. Whitlag, former License Commissioner M. J. Bowler, Public Works Commissioners James Allyn and Israel Ducharme, Superintendent of Streets Henry Winkler, City Forester Thomas Bray, clerk of the Board of Public Works, Oscar Ferry; License Commissioner David Downing and numerous other friends and admirers, each and all anxious to pay tribute to the memory of the departed leader and friend.

When the funeral procession reached the church, the many delegations comprising the honorary escort lined up on each side of the entrance, while the casket was being borne by the active bearers who were: Third Deputy Chief Daniel D. McLean, Captains, W.W. Watt, John J. Welch, James J. Sullivan, Daniel D. Hogan. Patrick P. Rohan and Lieut. William M. Millane.

Solemn requiem high mass was sung, for which Rt. Rev. Mgr. madden was celebrant, Rev. Francis Swift, deacon, Rev. Walter hogan, sub deacon and Rev. Daniel R. Devine, master of ceremonies. Within the sanctuary were seated, Rev. John F. Griffin, pastor of the Holy Rosary Church; Rev. Dr. P.B. Phelan, pastor of the Precious Blood Church; Rev. Joseph Marchand, pastor of the Perpetual help Church, and Rev. J. F. McGillicuddy, pastor of the Church of the Nativity in Willimansett.

Burial took place in St. Jerome Cemetery. The services were impressive, Mgr. Madden officiating and he was assisted by the other clergymen present. As the casket was lowered into the grave the 60 firemen present each in turn dropped a bouquet of roses in the grave, their last tribute to their departed leader.

During the funeral march from the church to the cemetery, the other members of the Fire Department who were unable to attend the funeral services lined up in front of their respective engine hoses and stood at attention with heads bared.

Adapted from The Springfield Republican.

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