Lynch recognized at gala for 40 years of private practice

By Lynn R. Parks

The professional building that is home to the Seaford dental practice Lynch and Rodriguez is getting a new name. The announcement that the building, now simply called Professional Suites, will now be called the John C. Lynch Professional Suites was made Saturday evening at a gala celebrating Lynch's 40 years in private practice.

"We're going to put up a new sign as soon as we figure out who's going to pay for it," Carlyle Windley, Lynch's long-time friend and a partner in development of the building, joked.

The city of Seaford is also honoring "Jack" Lynch. City manager Dolores Slatcher announced at the gala that a new street sign will go up on Hall Street, near that street's entrance to Lynch's practice's parking lot. While the black and white sign will still say Hall Street on it, it will also bear Lynch's name.

"The city is indebted to you for using Seaford as a platform for your business," Slatcher said at the gala. "Small business is the bedrock of what we are able to accomplish here."

The surprise gala was held in the clubhouse at Baywood Greens east of Millsboro. Nearly 150 people attended, including friends and family as well as members of the Lynch and Rodriguez staff.

Despite the fact that the gala was in the works for 18 months, Lynch said that he truly was surprised when he walked into the clubhouse dining room and everyone stood up and applauded. He had received an invitation to a surprise retirement party for fellow dentist William Lord, who practices in Georgetown, and he thought that that was where he was headed. Dr. Lord, who is not retiring, was among the guests.

"I didn't know that I had this many friends," Lynch told the crowd. "I don't feel like I deserve all of this, but it's very nice."

Lynch graduated from Seaford High School in 1962 and went to the University of Delaware, where he graduated in 1966. He was drafted into the Army that same year and served overseas as well as at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

In the fall of 1969, after being discharged from the Army, Lynch started classes at the Temple University School of Dentistry, Philadelphia. There, he met Carol Kramer, a student in Temple's dental hygienist program, and they were married the following June.

Lynch graduated from Temple in 1973 and, after a one-year internship, he and Carol moved to Seaford, where in 1976, he set up his own practice. Their daughter, Melissa, was born in 1975 and their son, Michael, in 1979.

Lynch, Windley and Ron Moore purchased the former Burton Bros. Chevrolet building in 1999 and developed it into professional suites. In 2000, Lynch moved his office from the Poplar Street house in which his father, Dr.

John W. Lynch, had had his family practice into new quarters in the professional building. His first patient in the new office was Windley; coincidentally, Lynch had been the first customer at Nanticoke Automotive, which Windley opened in 1986.

Dr. Janette Rodriguez joined the practice in 2003 and Dr. Michael Keller 10 years later, in 2013.

Dental assistant Lori Hoch made it clear to the people at the gala that it was not a retirement party. "We expect to see you bright and early Monday morning," she told Lynch.

She also told a story which she said exemplifies what she called Lynch's "tunnel vision" when it comes to dentistry. When the practice was still in the Poplar Street house, a woman came in who immediately attracted everyone's attention. She was wearing a big hat, bright red lipstick "that you would not believe" and lots of jewelry. She also had on high-heeled shoes over fuzzy socks, knee highs and thigh highs.

"One thing, though, that she forgot to put on was a dress," Hoch said.

The employees in the office were fascinated with her, and curious about how Lynch would react. "They were all going on and on about what he would say," Hoch said. "But I knew better. "I told them, 'He's not going to notice.'"

And she was right. Not until she wrote him a note on the woman's chart asking what he thought of the patient's dress did he check to see what she was wearing. "He looked around and the poor man jumped about six feet," Hoch said. "He does great dentistry, but he's not going to see much beyond that."

Hoch presented Lynch, who is an avid tennis player, with a gift from the office, a racquet bag made from the vinyl of an old examining chair that was discarded when the practice bought new chairs recently. "Everybody in Seaford has probably touched that vinyl," she said.

Windley told the gathering that when the Lynches were considering moving the practice, their biggest concern wasn't the expense. Rather, "they wanted to make sure that they didn't leave his patients without quality dental care," he said. "It has never been about money for them. It's always been about caring and compassionate care."

In his invocation, the Rev. Dave Humphrey, minister at Mariner's Bethel United Methodist Church, Ocean View, and former minister at St. John's UMC, Seaford, gave thanks for Lynch's "meaningful work."

"Dr. Lynch is helping smiles to shine forth, literally and figuratively," he added. "His is a craft well-plied, and we are thankful for it."

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