Dr. Thomas Lynch

Psy­chi­a­trist and psy­cho­an­a­lyst was act­ing head of the old Se­ton In­sti­tute and a Johns Hop­kins as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Jac­ques Kelly jac­ques.kelly@balt­sun.com

Dr. Thomas Lynch, a re­tired psy­chi­a­trist and psy­cho­an­a­lyst who taught at the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity School of Medicine, died Tues­day of com­pli­ca­tions from Parkin­son’s dis­ease at his Charles­brook home. He was 94.

Born in Ire­land in County Ca­van, he spent his child­hood on a fam­ily farm over­look­ing Lough Sheelin in the town of Car­rick. The son of Philip Lynch and Mary Cather­ine Jones, he was the old­est boy of 11 chil­dren.

An un­cle who was a Ro­man Catholic canon in Leitrim paid his way to at­tend St. Pa­trick’s School, where he boxed and achieved lo­cal fame play­ing Gaelic football.

He earned a de­gree at Univer­sity Col­lege Dublin, then de­clined to en­ter the priest­hood — as his fam­ily had hoped — to pur­sue the study of medicine.

“There is a fam­ily story that his mother took him to buy a suit,” said a son, Bren­dan Lynch of Sparks. “When he picked out a blue one, and not the black one for the priest­hood, she burst into tears.”

In a fam­ily mem­oir, Dr. Lynch re­called that af­ter his grad­u­a­tion from med­i­cal school in Dublin, he trained in psy­chother­apy at the Holloway San­i­tar­ium, a pri­vate psy­chi­atric hos­pi­tal near Staines in Sur­rey, Eng­land.

He later con­tacted Dr. Leo Barte­meier, a fel­low psy­chi­a­trist who had worked at Johns Hop­kins un­der Dr. Adolf Meyer.

Dr. Lynch sailed on the SS Lib­erte to the United States and took a po­si­tion at the Haven San­i­tar­ium in Rochester, Mich. Then in 1954, when Dr. Barte­meier be­came med­i­cal di­rec­tor at the old Se­ton In­sti­tute in North­west Bal­ti­more, Dr. Lynch fol­lowed and be­came the in­sti­tute’s as­sis­tant clin­i­cal di­rec­tor.

By the time Se­ton In­sti­tute closed in 1973, he was its act­ing di­rec­tor.

“When I came down to Bal­ti­more, it was much more like be­ing in Eng­land or Ire­land. It had that kind of feel about it,” Dr. Lynch said in his mem­oir. “Michi­gan was much more open, the peo­ple were more open, more friendly. There was more of a so­cial class system [in Mary­land] and ob­vi­ously a caste system in terms of the blue­bloods and the Bal­ti­more so­ci­ety. It was more again like Eng­land. And I didn’t care for it at first.”

In his mem­oir, he de­scribed what he en­coun­tered at the Se­ton In­sti­tute: “There were dif­fer­ent wards, dif­fer­ent units for chronic, pro­longed pa­tients, and then for the acute pa­tients,” he said. “I would give elec­troshock treat­ment, in­sulin coma ther­apy. ... These were all the usual treat­ments at that time. Med­i­ca­tion first came in around in the 1950s for Tho­razine.

“Psy­chi­a­try was chang­ing at that time,” he wrote. “Man­aged care was com­ing in. ... The pa­tients were now kept in the com­mu­nity longer and were treated in the com­mu­nity. ... Se­ton just folded.”

He said he re­gret­ted that some of his pa­tients ended up in pris­ons rather than be­ing treated at hos­pi­tals.

He later be­came an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor of psy­chi­a­try at the Johns Hop­kins School of Medicine.

“Tom was a splen­did teacher of our stu­dents and could bring them close to pa­tients in a way that oth­ers couldn’t,” said Dr. Paul R. McHugh, former psy­chi­a­tristin-chief at Johns Hop­kins Hos­pi­tal. “He had a hu­man touch and was will­ing to take on any pro­ject I asked. He will be missed.”

Dr. Lynch also worked at Si­nai Hos­pi­tal, where he de­vel­oped its in­pa­tient psy­chi­atric ser­vices, and had been on the staff at Union Me­mo­rial Hos­pi­tal.

“Tom was cheer­ful, help­ful and he lis­tened to peo­ple,” said Dr. Lex B. Smith, a fel­low psy­chi­a­trist. “He worked closely with the res­i­dents.”

Dr. Lynch main­tained a pri­vate prac­tice on Wyn­d­hurst Av­enue in Roland Park for many years.

He en­joyed spend­ing time with his chil­dren and grand­chil­dren, read­ing, and play­ing tennis and golf. He also en­joyed at­tend­ing per­for­mances of the Bal­ti­more Opera Com­pany and the Bal­ti­more Sym­phony Orches­tra.

He was a past pres­i­dent of the Mary­land Psy­chi­atric So­ci­ety and was awarded its Life­time Ser­vice Award last year.

A me­mo­rial Mass will be of­fered at 2 p.m. to­day at the Cathe­dral of Mary Our Queen, 5200 N. Charles Street, where he was a parish­ioner.

In ad­di­tion to his son, survivors in­clude his wife of 38 years, Jen­nifer Leven, a re­tired Johns Hop­kins so­cial worker; two other sons, Kevin Lynch of Bal­ti­more and Philip Lynch of Tar­ry­town, N.Y.; a daugh­ter, Mona Lynch of La­guna Beach, Calif.; broth­ers Pa­trick Lynch and Hugh Lynch and sis­ters Joan O’Con­nell and Pauline Ol­will, all of Ire­land; and six grand­chil­dren.

An ear­lier mar­riage to Anne Wehrle ended in di­vorce. Dr. Thomas Lynch was awarded the Mary­land Psy­chi­atric So­ci­ety’s Life­time Ser­vice Award last year.

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