After many miles and many adventures, Jill Irene Lynch died in her hometown of Orofino, Idaho, Dec. 19, 2019.
She was born August 10, 1943, to Charles (Bud) Lynch and Irene (Tull) Lynch, and lived the first year of her life in a tiny log cabin our father had built at the age of 17. Many years later, she hosted a family gathering to rebuild that cabin on our family homestead, which was, in her last 30 years, her home.
Jill left a four bedroom ranch house (and in these last years, lived in) to attend Lewis-Clark Normal School, where she met and married an Orofino home town boy, Ken Gough. After graduation, they worked on Diamond Lake Lookout in Oregon, and then taught grade school for three years in Myrtle Creek, Oregon.
After working to put Ken through law school, she then entered law school herself, complementing her earlier studies in geology, anthropology, chemistry and sociology with a University of Oregon Doctorate of Jurisprudence. Although divorced, she and Ken remained close friends for life.
Her journey through law saw her as a law clerk, trail attorney in Eugene and Roseburg, Oregon, Lane County Attorney, a legal aid practice at the White Mountain Apache Reservation, and a prosecuting attorney in Parker, Arizona. With the Eugene Police Department and Lane County Sheriff’s Department, she pioneered a rape victim advocacy program.
A break in law practice became a three-year spiritual journey in the Southwest and Mexico, she and a dog named Wilson traveling in a 1967 GMC motorhome with a Datsun pickup in tow.
Jill returned to Orofino in1988 after our father’s death to support and later become a caregiver to our mom, Irene. Many trips they had to the North Fork, the Lochsa, and even as far as White Sulphur Springs, Montana.
A stint as a volunteer at the Clearwater Memorial Library turned into a job as the librarian, from which she retired, and to quote: “A bad day as a librarian is better than a good day as a lawyer, anytime!”
A strong voice of the community service and as an advocate for social justice, she spent her retirement years in Rotary, Book Club, Garden Club, registering people to vote, supporting the Museum, gathering signatures for Medicaid expansion, helping with library book sales, and banding together with many close friends: Cleo, Deb, Sandy, Connie, Lin, Pam, June, just to name a few of the many.
Jill was admired for her physical and psychological strength in the face of many challenges, for her wonderful sense of humor, by being fiercely independent and loyal to friends and family. She loved animals and tools: she kept a poem on her refrigerator titled “The Hardware Store as Proof of the Existence of God.” Her house is floor to ceiling with books.
Jill is survived by her sister, Bette Lynch Husted (Dean); brothers, Tom, John and Monte (Kitty); nieces, Destiny Lynch and Angela Lynch Nelson; nephews, John Husted, Aaron Lynch, Jacob Lynch and Jared Lynch; maternal aunt, Caroline Cuddy; best-friend-since-childhood cousin, Rosalie Miles Francisco, and too many cousins and friends to list.
A remembrance will be held in June, date and time to be announced.
Jill was passionate about learning and books, so please make any contributions in her name to the Clearwater Memorial Public Library, P.O. Box 471, Orofino, Idaho 83544.