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In Remembrance
Place of Residence:
Cranford, NJ
Location on 9/11:
Port Authority of New York & New Jersey | Property Manager

As a kid, Bob Lynch didn't exactly endear himself to the neighborhood -- Bard Avenue on Staten Island -- by putting junky old cars up on blocks in front of his parents' house.

"Sometimes his smile was a bit devilish," recalled Jim Gallagher, an uncle.

Many years later, those childhood memories still fresh in his mind, Mr. Lynch talked about getting one more junky car, putting it up on blocks, and working on it with his son, Jonathan, when Jonathan turned 15.

The Cranford resident never had a chance to make the dream come true. Mr. Lynch, one of 14 property managers in the World Trade Center, died during the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. He was 44.

"He called me right after the first plane hit," his wife, Elisabeth Lynch, said. "He was in the (outdoor) plaza. He told me he loved me, that he was okay. I was pretty sure he was."

Moments later, Mr. Lynch courageously went back into the Twin Towers to help people get to safety.

Thousands worked at the World Trade Center; few knew it as well as Mr. Lynch, who had worked for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey for 21 years.

Mr. Lynch, a graduate of Voorhees Technical Institute in New York City, started as a watch engineer at Newark International Airport and later held the same position at the George Washington Bridge. Mr. Lynch then took a job at the World Trade Center as a "vertical transportation contract administrator."

"Elevators," Elisabeth Lynch said, laughing.

Her husband's job was to administer contracts between the Port Authority and the companies providing elevator service at the World Trade Center. The two actually met in the Twin Towers; Elisabeth Lino worked in the computer department.

"We were friends for a long time," she said. "People would see us eating lunch together and say, 'He's a really nice guy.'"

One night, after she had what she called "a rough, rough day" at work, she received a back rub from Mr. Lynch, who then proceeded to propose to her.

"He was a can-do guy with a positive attitude," she said. "'No' was not part of his vocabulary."

The two honeymooned in Ireland and Great Britain. Of all the places they visited, Dingle, a small coastal town in Ireland, was their favorite.

"The people were so warm and friendly," she recalled. "We could have stayed there forever."

A friend, Steve Yafet of Hillside, described Mr. Lynch as someone who "moved briskly through projects like a physician making his rounds.

"Anyone who has been around Bob has felt his magnetic tug that draws out that little drop of joy we keep tucked quietly inside," Yafet added.

"One thing I loved about him is that he knew everyone by name," Elisabeth Lynch said. "We have received calls from his clients. One said she had been unable to cry (after the disaster). But when she heard Bob was among the missing, she cried."

Besides his wife, Mr. Lynch is survived by their three children, Patrick, 5; James, 3; and Mark, 1; and by two children from a previous marriage, Noelle, 18, and Jonathan, 13.

Profile by Peter Genovese published in THE STAR-LEDGER.