Dr. Bud Lynch: A Loving Look Back

In 1967, Buddy Lynch made a fumble recovery that helped key Staples’ 8-0 victory over Stamford Catholic, in the 2nd FCIAC football championship game ever played. It was a huge upset, over the #1 team in the state.

Lynch went on to play at Dartmouth College, then became a noted surgeon. But he was not the first well-known Dr. Lynch in town.

He followed in his father Bud’s footsteps. The older man spent decades as a beloved Westport-based pediatrician.

And now the son has written about his dad, for the Dartmouth alumni newsletter.

Bud Sr. was born in 1915 in Rowayton. He played 4 years of football at Dartmouth — including an undefeated season in 1937.

Dr. Bud Lynch, in World War II

After Dartmouth med school, 2 years of rotations at Colubmia, then back to Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital in Hanover for internship, he headed out as a medical officer to England for D-Day.

His LST followed minesweepers to a point 13 miles off Utah Beach. His ship was set up to evacuate wounded — from both sides — with racks holding stretchers as beds. He never spoke of that action. But, Buddy notes, it must have been very difficult.

Two months later, a 2nd operation took place in southern France. The Germans attacked Allied forces.

It was a brutal battle. Bud was blown off the bridge and onto the deck, 30 feet below. He broke his right femur. He may have had a spinal fracture too.

A former lifeguard, he realized he’d be better off in the water than staying on an exploding ship. Dragging his broken leg, he pulled himself over the rail — and plunged another 30 feet into the ocean.

The pain, Buddy writes, must have been excruciating. Bud was rescued, and evacuated to a hospital tent in Italy.

He returned a month later to the US. But the wound had become infected. Bud spent the next 3 years in hospitals, and in wheelchairs.

Dr. Bud Lynch’s LST, after the German attack.

Eventually, Bud recovered. He returned to medicine — choosing pediatrics because it required less walking and standing than other specialties.

Buddy was born near the end of his father’s residency at Columbia. He spent his first year in a New York apartment — with a drawer as his crib — and moved to Westport in 1951, when his father joined a practice here.

Bud could no longer play football or baseball. But he umpired Little League, swam, played golf and skied. Back pain, stiffness and a pronounced limp often troubled him, but he never complained.

In 1962, Sports Illustrated named Bud as a Silver Anniversary All-American. The honor was given for talent, accomplishments and outstanding citizenship.

Bud closed his Westport practice in 1979. He moved to Hanover — where Buddy was doing his orthopedic residency. Bud saw patients at his new home, and kept up to date with the latest medicine at Mary Hitchcock Hospital.

In 1994 he fell. His leg continued to bother him. A month later, X-rays revealed that for 45 years he had walked on a femur fracture that never healed.

An operation finally healed the bone.

In his late 80s, Bud Lynch’s determination, endurance and memory began to fail.

But his memory lives on, in all his former patients and their parents in Westport.

Now — thanks to the Dartmouth ’72 newsletter story, by his son — his story lives on too.

(Click here — then scroll down to page 9 — for a much fuller version of the Dartmouth newsletter story. Hat tip: Peter Gambaccini)

15 responses to “Dr. Bud Lynch: A Loving Look Back

  1. Dr. Lynch tended to all the Eason children. He was an awesome Doctor and a kind man. I can still see him coming up the front walk to make a house call. As I recall his nurse was Mrs. Richards? Her go to line prior to administering a shot was “David I’m going to pinch your arm and you tell me when to give the shot”. Of course when I was ready the deed was already done.. Nice memories of an old school practice..

  2. Ashton Robinson

    Thanks for the great tribute to Dr. Lynch! I remember Dr. Lynch well when I grew up in Weston. His office was upstairs from Dr. Lebar. When my mother took me to the Dr., I always hoped Dr. Lebar wouldn’t be available so I could see Dr. Lynch. I also knew his son “Buddy” Franklin and his daughter “Lizzie” who was in my grade. I visited their home several times in a small subdivision off of Weston Rd. on the way from Westport to Weston.

  3. As a child in Westport I was treated numerous times by Dr. Lynch and he was larger than life while at the same time being a quiet and gentle giant. I also knew Buddy Lynch the son although he was an older athlete at Staples that I idolized mostly from a distance. What a great Christmas gift for this old Westporter to read this story and to vividly recall the shared character, integrity and quality of this father and his son as if it were yesterday.

  4. David Harrison

    Such a wonderful, quiet “giant” of a man…and an equally wonderful family.
    Bud cared for our younger son at birth. His wife, Elsie, tended to our whole family, even after their move to Hanover. We taught several of the Lynch “kids;” Marianne coached daughter Lizzie. Later, we benefitted from the medical skills of son, Michael.

    And we were grateful to have visited with Bud and Elsie in Hanover.

    Thanks, Buddy, for bringing back such positive memories of your dad and your whole family.

    David and Marianne Harrison

  5. Daryl Styner, D.D.S.

    What a great story. I live hearing these heartwarming bio’s about Westport’s residents. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Vanessa Bradford

    Dan, Thanks for the back story. Dr. Lynch used to make house calls to our home on Edgewater Hillside. Times sure have changed!

  7. Bonnie Bradley

    Bud Lynch was my children’s pediatrician; I echo all the great comments above. He was truly a wonderful doctor and human being. Dr. Lynch gave me, mom!, a polio shot when my kids got theirs… Leaving no stone unturned…. typical 😊.

  8. Many thanks to Buddy Lynch for his remembrance of his dad, Bud. Bud Lynch was my pediatrician and my dad’s close friend and roommate at Dartmouth. The Allen and Lynch families arrived in Westport from NYC at about the same time, renewing the friendship forged at Dartmouth. My father had many Bud Lynch anecdotes, but his favorite occurred in England on June 5, 1944. Bud’s LST was berthed in Portsmouth, not far from the base camp of the 101st Airborne Division in which my father was a glider infantry platoon leader. On June 5, Bud invited my father to have an early dinner with him aboard ship. The two old friends dined in the captain’s cabin and were waited on by the captain’s Navy stewards. As dinner ended my dad was handed a note ordering him to return to his unit immediately. A few hours later he was in a glider bound for Normandy and D-Day while Bud’s ship was on the way to its station off Utah Beach. .

    Decades later, in the mid-1990s, I was sitting on the 50-yard line at Columbia’s Baker Field watching the Lions play Dartmouth. My companions that day were Bud Lynch and Bud’s closest friend, former Dartmouth All America tailback Bill Hutchinson (Bill had also been my dad’s roommate in Hanover), my mother and my three-year-old daughter Maude, who was seated on Bud’s knee. Bud whispered to Maude, “Maude is such a 19th century name, young lady; my mother’s name was Maude.” Kind words from the kindest and mightiest of men. Thanks, Buddy, for bringing him back to life.. .

  9. Nicholas Polifroni

    Dr. Bub Lynch Sr. I am sure was proud to know that his other son, Dr. Michael Lynch, has also become a legend in Westport, treating Orthopaedic Illnesses and injuries, and carrying on the Lynch tradition of being a caring and compassionate physician, like his father and brother. I am fortunate to have worked with Michael for the last 28 years, and to have heard many of the tales, trials and tribulations of his father that probably helped shape and guide his persona.

  10. I first met Bud Lynch in 1963 when my wife, daughter and I moved to Westport to begin my Orthopaedic Surgery practice. I met him after I had called the office of Dr’s Lebhar and Lynch because our daughter was ill. He came to the house. He examined, diagnosed and instructed my wife concerning my daughters illness within the first five minutes of the visit. Bud and I, graduates of Dartmouth classes of 1938 and 1954, then spent the next two hours in my living room watching the televised Dartmouth Harvard game – much to the distress of my wife who thought Bud should have been hovering over our daughters crib instead of watching the game.

    We became friends and medical collegues throughout the remainder of his time in Westport. As local pediatricians he and Dr. Lebhar and Dr. Beasley and Dr. Shiller were all extreemly supportive of my new Orthopaedic practice and I have always been grateful for that.

    I visited Bud and Elsie at Dartmouth after he retired to Pediatric practice in Hanover.

    Some years after that I interviewed Mike Lynch, Buddy’s brother and Bud and Elsie’s other Orthopaedic son, as he finished his Orthopaedic residency in Boston. He was looking for a practice position. His top flight training – his Westport connection – his Dad’s friendship and support shown to me – and Mike’s own talents made him a perfect fit for Barton,Markey,Brody and Marks, the precursor of the todays Coastal Orthopaedics.

    Mike Lynch is the new “Westport’s Dr. Lynch”.

  11. Liz Doyle Boyd

    Wonderful piece by Buddy. Brings back so many memories of the best childhood I could have asked for, growing up in Westport in the 50’s and 60’s. Best to the Lynch families from The Doyles. God Bless…

  12. Judith P. Lanyi

    There was no one like Dr. Lynch. He was pediatrician for all my sons; Todd, Andrew and Gregory Weeks. When I was pregnant and Andrew developed croup and needed to be placed in a misting tent …..Dr. Lynch did not say: “I’ll meet you at the hospital”. He drove us there. He was such a kind, knowledgeable and caring man…..like a big teddy bear. My boys were so fortunate to have been under his care……and his son’s tribute is poignant and beautiful. God bless dear Dr. Lynch.

    Judy Lanyi

  13. Eric Bosch '73

    I too met Dr. Lynch in 1963, as did my 2 brothers when we moved to Westport. He came to our home many times to see us through the common childhood illnesses, always providing the kindness, grace, a sense of humor, and the reassurance that things were going to get better soon.

    I recall coming home from college in my late-teens and Dr. Lynch told me that it was time for me to find an adult doctor. I was bummed that my life-long doc was giving me the “brush-off”. As I left the offices for what I thought was the last time, walking past all the kids toys in the waiting room, I thought to myself Doctor Lynch has always been right, time to move on.

    You might recall too, that his office had a wonderful black & white cat wall clock, (it’s eyes moved back-and-forth with it’s tail). Years later, when my children were born, we brought them to the same pediatrician’s offices, just up from the Post Office. Then Dr. Fern Perlman practice. Needless to say, it was a bit of childhood magic when I saw that very same Cat clock still on the wall making the next generation of kids smile, even when smiling was sometimes hard to do.

    Thanks Dan, thanks Bud! I sent the full story of your dad, who’s clearly a hometown hero, to my 2 brothers also.

  14. What a wonderful tribute. I remember the house calls and “drink plenty of Ginger Ale”. When I played football at Staples I would call Dr. Lynch about various dings and scrapes. He would always say just to put “ice on it” and player harder next time. Then he’d say if it really became too much, call Dr. Bienfield.

  15. Andrew and Janet Neilly and family

    Dear Dan,

    We are very grateful to find your tribute to Franklin Lynch MD. He was a beloved attendant to our 3 children and this family. I still remember him walking up the stairs to help us wearing his heavy boot. Our family loved him.

    Andrew and Janet Neilly and family