Edwin Lynch, George Mason Benefactor, Dies

Posted: March 19, 2004 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Daniel Walsch

Edwin W. Lynch, 91, retired real estate developer, former member of the Virginia House of Delegates, and one of George Mason University’s longest-standing and generous benefactors, died Wednesday, March 17, following an extended illness.

Edwin Lynch
Edwin Lynch

Lynch, who once described himself as “an old farmer who loves the good Earth,” was a 1995 recipient of the university’s highest honor, the George Mason Medal. He also served as a trustee of the George Mason University Foundation and as a member and chairman of the Institute for Conflict Analysis and Resolution’s (ICAR) advisory board.

His legacy at the university includes a $6.7 million donation of property and funds that he and his wife, Helen, made in 2000 to support the work of ICAR and to create an international retreat and conference center. The Lynch’s home, located in Mason Neck and known as Point of View, and contiguous 39 acres were part of this significant donation.

“Ed Lynch was one of George Mason University’s best friends. His commitment to the resolution of conflict of all sorts led to his incredible support of our own ICAR,” said university President Alan Merten. “I always found his commitment to social justice and peace to be highly inspirational and something that influenced many people and organizations.

“He was one of the rare individuals who had the courage to strive to do what’s right even if it meant taking action that was unpopular,” Merten continued.

Born in Annandale, Va., Lynch was a graduate of Strayer College of Accounting and Business Administration. After serving with the U.S. Department of Agriculture from 1933 to 1937, he worked as a real estate broker from 1937 to 1972, as an accountant and real estate developer for Vernon Lynch, his father’s firm, from 1938 to 1945, and as a manager and partner for Vernon Lynch and Sons from 1945 to 1975. Following that, he served as a general partner in the Lynch Limited Partnership.

In 1987, he and his wife endowed ICAR’s first chair and an annual lecture series in memory of his parents, Vernon and Minnie. The following year, his influence played a major role in helping to establish the institute’s doctoral program–the first of its kind in the world. In 1996, the Lynches created the John W. Burton Endowment, named for one of ICAR’s distinguished professors.

Throughout his career, Lynch held a number of elected and appointed offices, serving as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates, the First American Bank of Virginia’s Board of Directors, the Patrick Henry Memorial Foundation’s Board of Trustees, and the Shenandoah College and Conservatory of Music’s Board of Trustees.

Funeral services will be held Monday, March 22, at 1 p.m. at Annandale United Methodist Church, 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale, Va. The Lynch family requests that donations in his memory be made to one of the following: ICAR, in care of the George Mason University Foundation; Annandale United Methodist Church, Missionary Fund; or Rising Hope United Methodist Mission, Alexandria, Va.

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