Tributes to the power and influence of Bill Lynch, who joined the ancestors last week, come in a variety of ways. One of the most impressive moments occurred the other day on the stoop of Bill’s home on Hamilton Terrace.
Almost as if they were sitting Shiva, several young people, including April, Jamal and Lamon, gathered in memory of their mentor, perhaps in preparation for a meeting of reflection on the man who meant so much to them and the social and political well-being of the city as well as elsewhere.
Bill’s name and prestige were invoked by John Liu the other evening during the Democratic mayoral debate on ABC-TV. In his closing statement Liu was magnanimous in his praise, citing the significant role Bill played in his political career.
Former President Bill Clinton, whose successes can be, in part, attributed to Lynch’s sagely counsel and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that Bill “had a heart even bigger than the city he served. Whether he was fighting for working families at AFSCME or running political campaigns or working in City Hall, Bill always put people first. He was a friend to both of us over many years. We admired his integrity and his generosity, including his support for scores of community and philanthropic organizations. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Mary and their family. New York has lost a champion and they have lost a loving husband and a devoted father.”
As a reporter, I can say without reservation that Bill was always there for me, helping me think through some baffling political dilemma, making sure I got the back and front story of an issue.
I remember after a recent interview with John Liu at his home, he called me later to see if I needed any additional information. Whenever he did this I knew there was perhaps a question I should have asked, an answer that needed elaboration.
Few political consultants were as accessible and insightful as Bill Lynch and folks will talk about how much will be is missed, well, this reporter will certainly be up that proverbial creek without a paddle with Bill no longer around to suggest an angle, to divulge some inside dope.
Yes, he was the “rumpled genius” with an emphasis on genius, a genius that passes through these corridors much too infrequently.
Funeral services for Bill is Thursday, August 15, 10am, Riverside Church in NYC.