If he could help you, he would. If he couldn’t help you, then he would point you to someone who could.

Arthur Patrick “Art” Lynch Jr., a native Charlottean, died September 9, 2011 of bone cancer. He was 63, the retired business manager of Family Mortuary and a political and community advocate.

“Art had an innate ability to connect with folks, from the down-and-out to the biggest power brokers in this community,” said Steve Crump, a WBTV reporter who had known him for 20 years. “There was nobody he could not connect with.”

Bill Culp, former Board of Elections director, was Art’s Dilworth housemate for several years before Art married Margaret Baker. “He tried to help people who needed help,” said Bill, a friend of 40 years. “The main thing is that he loved everybody and showed it. Once he made a friend, he never lost them and was always there for them, including me.”

Cherry was his home

Cherry, an early 20th century black neighborhood not far from uptown, held a special place in Art’s heart.

“He would help people in the Cherry neighborhood,” said his former wife, Margaret. “He would put them in touch with help or steer them in the right direction to get help. He would go to court with them and be there with them any way he could.”

Art was a 1967 Charlotte Catholic High School graduate, and in 1969 he graduated from Mercy School of X-ray Technology. He later was appointed director of Mercy’s X-ray Department. His passion for political and community advocacy pushed his career into non-profit management and business development.

Although both of Art’s runs for City Council were unsuccessful, he helped others in their efforts to seek offices.

“He was my campaign manager when I ran for the Board of Education,” said Sarah Stevenson, a former board member. “He was like another son, absolutely.”

In 1982, Art was named first executive director of Inroads Charlotte, a non-profit that gave internships and mentoring programs to disadvantaged students. As associate director of Charlotte Mecklenburg Youth Council, he helped provide vocational opportunities to local youth.

Laughter made it better

Friend Beverly Irby wrote in Art’s online guest book, “I can still hear your laughter in my mind. What an incredibly bright individual who knew something about everything.”

Art was a great father to his children, Monika, Patrick III and Deirdre.

“He had a way of making you laugh in the most challenging situations,” said Monika Pearson. “He had a crazy sense of humor and could make everything better through laughter.”

Son Patrick said, “I had a great childhood. He was always at every event, coached me in playing ball, and was my Cub Scout leader. He taught me life lessons and my character and sense of humor comes from him. He was a big influence on the man I became.”

He helped the underdog

Deirdre Smith said, “He definitely had an amazing wit and he used it to break down walls with lots of different people. I value most that he was extremely open minded and tolerant of all walks of people. That’s probably what I cherish most about him.

“Dad believed in helping the underdog,” she added. “He single-handedly helped a young lady with a life sentence, and worked to be sure she got legal assistance and a fair appeal. One reason I went to law school is this sense of excellence and advocacy he instilled in me.”

Deirdre said that her father fought his bone cancer with a 100 percent effort and a tremendous sense of humor. When he was transferred to Charlotte Healthcare Center, “His sense of humor made him ‘King of the Nursing Home.’ His positive attitude uplifted other residents,” his daughter said.

That was Art, all right, forever helping, forever uplifting his fellow man.
Editor’s note: This is our series called Lives That Matter. Written by Charlotte writer Gerry Hostetler, this weekly feature will profile individuals, recently deceased, who had a positive impact on those around them. Email editor@qcitymetro.com.

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