Tommiana Lynch, a 20-year resident of Smith River, passed away peacefully on Jan. 4, 2019, after a long illness. Known to her friends as Tommie, she was born in Olympia, Washington, in 1932. She earned a degree and teaching credential in home economics from Eastern Washington University.
Her first teaching job was in Stockton. One year later she moved to Gridley, in Butte County, to teach home economics at Gridley Union High School from 1955-1964. She also taught in Oroville from 1965-1966. Her classes included cooking, food preservation, sewing, family life, home organization and budgeting. She married Robert (Bob) Lynch in 1966. They met while teaching together at Gridley High School and made their home for the next 30 years just outside Gridley, a major farming area in the Northern Sacramento Valley.
In 1968, She left teaching to raise her family, but stayed very involved in the community. She was a active volunteer for West Gridley 4-H, Gridley Gators Swim Team, American Association of University Women, Friends of the Library and the Kaleidoscope Arts Council. She was honored with numerous awards from the Gridley Chamber of Commerce and Butte County 4-H for her many years of dedicated service. Her love for home arts brought her to be the exhibit supervisor for the Butte County Fair for many years. The Western Fairs Association gave her a Blue Ribbon Award for years of exemplary service. From 1976 to 1992, she served as a trustee on the Gridley Union School District Board. She also served on the Board of California School Boards Association.
In 1999, Tommie, Bob and their son Jim, moved to Smith River to be closer to her daughter, Cerina. While living in Smith River, she worked with the Smith River Heritage Association and volunteered in her daughter’s classroom. Tommie, along with Bob and Jim, transformed their two-acre property from mostly grass to a thriving orchard and garden. She enjoyed sharing their harvest with friends and family. Her favorite part of living in Del Norte County was spending time with her grandchildren, Alex and Zara.
She was best known for Christmas. While living in Gridley, she started baking German Christmas stollen, a traditional holiday yeast bread for friends and family along with over 20 different kinds of cookies. The family made annual deliveries to community friends as well as businesses they frequented. She continued this tradition in Smith River and Crescent City as long as her health would allow. She was also known for elaborate Christmas decorations. At her peak, she had nine different Christmas trees, all with different themes plus many other beautiful decorations throughout her home, many she had made herself. She dearly loved spreading joy during the season.
Throughout her life, she gave to others and believed investing in children’s lives was an investment in our future.
She is survived by her husband, Robert Lynch, of 52 years; her son, James Lynch; daughter, Cerina Gastineau; grandson, Alex Gastineau; granddaughter, Zara Gastineau; and stepdaughter, Connie McCleery of Renton, Washington.
Friends and family will be invited to a celebration of life at a later date.
Tommie asked that in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following organizations: Any county 4-H club by visiting http://cehumboldt.ucanr.edu/. Choose the “gift” button, then select county or group you wish to donate to. Donations can also be made to Make a Wish or Shriner’s Hospitals.
Arrangements are under the direction of Wier’s Mortuary Chapel.
Please sign the family’s online guest book at wiersmortuary.com
— Submitted by Wier’s Mortuary Chapel