ROBERT NEWTON LYNCH
The passing of Robert Newton Lynch on the 5th of June, 1931, deprived San Francisco of one of its civic leaders
and a veteran Chamber of Commerce official whose work was of benefit to the entire state. He had reached the age
of fifty five years and was stricken shortly after he returned to his home from the William Gibbs McAdoo banquet
at the Palace Hotel. He was one of the principal speakers at the banquet and appeared to be in excellent health
at that time.
Robert N. Lynch was born in Sharpsville, Mercer county, Pennsylvania, December 18, 1875, his parents being Isaac
Newton and Maria (Caufield) Lynch, the former a native of Youngstown, Ohio, born in 1840, while the latter was
born in 1842. He was of Scotch-Irish ancestry. His forbears in the paternal line came from the north of Ireland,
and his grandfather and grandmother on the maternal side were natives of Londonberry, Ireland, born in the years
1800 and 1801, respectively.
In the acquirement of an education Robert N. Lynch attended primary and secondary schools of California, having
come to this state from Pennsylvania in 1881. In the Golden state he resided continuously throughout the remainder
of his life save for the period of six years, from 1896 until 1902, when he went to college. He attended the Southern
Baptist Theological Seminary of Louisville, Kentucky, from 1896 until 1900, being graduated in the latter year
with the degree of Bachelor of Theology. For two years thereafter he was a student at Regents Park College, London
University, from which he was graduated in 1902 with the degree of Associate of Theological Senate. He filled the
pastorate of the Petaluma Baptist Church from 1903 until 1909 and in the latter year became vice president and
manager of the California Development Board, now the State Chamber of Commerce, thus serving until 1916. Mr. Lynch
was vice president and manager of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce from 1911 until 1930 and in the following
year assumed charge of the international trade and commercial relations of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce.
He was commissioner to Italy during the exposition at Turin in 1911 and was decorated by the king of Italy as Knight
of the Crown of Italy, traveling extensively in Europe at that time to study immigration problems. In 1913 he was
commissioner to the international exposition at Ghent, Belgium. He became especially interested in oriental relations
and served as executive officer of the Japanese relations committee of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce from
1915 until his death. He was decorated by the emperor of Japan with the Order of the Sacred Treasure, in 1929,
in recognition of important services in the friendly relations of Japan with the United States. An earnest student
of international affairs, he visited practically every country on the globe in order to broaden his knowledge of
that subject, on which he was qualified to speak with authority. His keen mind enabled him to readily grasp the
relations between cause and effect and to bridge the steps from one to the other with ease. Forceful, determined
and thorough, he was destined to lead in anything that he undertook and possessed the qualities that men most admire.
On the 18th of April, 1907, in Petaluma, California, Mr. Lynch was united in marriage to Elizabeth Riley, who was
born in Ottumwa, Iowa, August 21, 1888. Their children are three in number, namely : Elizabeth Ann, the wife of
Martin A. Row, of Dallas, Texas; Maria Celeste, who is a junior in Stanford University of California; and Robert
Newton, Jr., who is attending a primary school in San Francisco. Mrs. Elizabeth (Riley) Lynch, the mother of the
above named, is of Welsh, English and Irish lineage. She has membership in both the Francisca Club and the Century
Club of San Francisco, and resides at 3590 Clay street in this city.
In politics Mr. Lynch was a republican, believing the principles of that party most conducive to good government.
He was a valued member of the Hamilton Square Baptist Church of San Francisco and was also highly esteemed among
his fellow members of the Pacific Union Club, the Commonwealth Club and the San Francisco Commercial Club, all
of San Francisco, and the Los Altos Golf & Country Club of Los Altos, California.
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931
San Francisco, CA
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