Gay Lynn Montgomery Lynch

  • Born: March 5, 1954
  • Died: July 3, 2020
  • Location: Jacksonville, Florida

Tribute & Message From The Family

Loving Wife, Mother, Grandmother, Sister, Aunt, Great-Aunt, & Friend

Message From The Family

We encourage you to add your own memories and/or photos of Gay Lynn as you sign the Guest Book. Thank you for visiting and contributing.

I am Gay Lynn Lynch's older brother, Jamie. As you know, Gay Lynn passed away a few months ago - she left many things 'undone' .... and simply .... 'ran out of time'.

As her brother, observing and remembering things about her too-short life, Gay Lynn had many accomplishments. I would like to share things about Gay Lynn's life and accomplishments that many of you may or may not know.

Gay Lynn's family was the most important thing to her. Our mother Mary Lou, Gay Lynn's husband Scott, two sons Marcus and Ryan and her biggest passion the last couple of years was her granddaughter, Kianna. She loved that little girl. Many mornings I would wake up to a couple of new pictures of Kianna that Gay Lynn had sent to me overnight. She then would call me early to provide the details of the picture(s) she sent. Gay Lynn had a sparkle in her eye and a smile on her face each time she spoke of Kianna - a beautiful thing to observe.

20 years after our sister Joy's passing, Gay Lynn was still, very emotional about the 1999 loss of Joy. I am not sure she ever fully finished grieving for Joy. Gay Lynn would call me out of the blue with an anecdote of, or question about Joy, as I was the older brother. Within 6 months of Joy's passing, we lost our Dad, which was very tough on soft-hearted Gay Lynn. Our mom, Mary Lou, at 87, is still with us. Gay Lynn cared for mom, in her home for 8 years. When mom required more care than Gay Lynn could provide, we placed her in a terrific ALF. Gay Lynn and I would visit Mom regularly and/or talk on the phone, multiple times most every day, comparing notes. All of this while Gay Lynn was still working!

Allow me to share some anecdotes about Gay Lynn that you may or may not have known of. She LOVED to sing! A very early recollection of mine is when Gay Lynn sang at a Sunday morning church service and did so in front of an audience for the very first time! She sang "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" - and she was 6 or 7 years old! From that point on, there was no holding her back from singing, at most any opportunity to do so. She began taking piano lessons at about that point and eventually became a virtuoso on the piano. She could sight-read music and was a substitute organist for large churches in Jacksonville for a number of years, even though she preferred singing. Also, for a number of years, Gay Lynn had a regular rotation as a singing soloist at large downtown churches for their Sunday morning services. She loved to perform for people.

Gay Lynn also performed with a local Opera performance group while she was a student at UNF. I attended a couple of her performances at the old Jacksonville Civic Center where she had the lead operatic role. I still have pictures somewhere of her performances. She loved the lime-light.

In 1975, while at UNF, Gay Lynn escorted Dr. Henry Kissinger to his seat at an 'Israel / Eqypt' Peace talk dinner at Epping Forest, the DuPont Estate. President Gerald Ford, Dr Kissinger, Menachim Began, Anwar Sadat, etc., were all in attendance.

In 1976, Gay Lynn graduated from UNF with a Music Degree. She was listed in the 1976 Collegiate 'Who's Who' of prominent graduates, nation-wide. Gay Lynn also went on to attain a Masters Degree in Music / Performance Arts. Our mother Mary Lou, also graduated from UNF with a Business Arts Degree the very same year as Gay Lynn.

After graduation from UNF, Gay Lynn decided to pursue her passion, Opera, in New York City. She packed up her belongings, moved lock, stock and barrel to New York City and lived there for about 3 years. Our Dad, drove Gay Lynn and her meager belongings to New York - a tough few days for him, dropping off his daughter in New York City! After settling in, Gay Lynn pursued her Opera dream by showing up for many auditions and eventually performed regularly on-stage as a member of the New York City Opera - mostly supportive roles. During her time in New York City, Gay Lynn spent a season with the 'Mike Curb Congregation'. The Mike Curb Congregation group toured the US with a very colorful, up-lifting, show of youthful music and dance. Her first 'on the road' experience - she loved it! For the time she was in New York, she helped finance her NY experience by waiting tables at restaurants in the heart of New York City! She also worked retail in a large jewelry store on 5th Avenue. Gay Lynn actually sold a large diamond to Peter Frampton - the rock star!

I recall another anecdote that Gay Lynn had while in New York City. Gay Lynn rode the subway extensively as she worked different jobs, went to many auditions and back to her apartment in the evenings. One day she was accosted while walking up the stairs to street level from the subway. Someone tried to rip her purse from her as she was walking, but she held on tight! When she first felt a touch on her hand or arm, she immediately stopped, turned and faced the accosting person walking up the stairs, right behind her! Gay Lynn was face-to-face with the perpetrator and immediately hit the most soulful, loud, ear-splitting 'High C' she ever performed! The perpetrator had never experienced or heard anything like this before and ran down back into the subway as quickly as possible - without her purse! Gay Lynn told me that as she was being accosted, many people walked right by her both up the subway stairs and down the subway stairs without rendering any assistance at all!

Thru it all, Gay Lynn loved her New York - Opera experience. But after 3 years, she decided it was time to take the next step in her career.

During her time in New York, along with everything else, Gay Lynn took language classes and learned to sing Opera in 3 (additional) languages. She could naturally perform Opera in English, but learned to also do so in German, Italian and Swiss. The natural next step for Gay Lynn was to leave the US and perform in small Opera Houses in Europe. According to Gay Lynn, Europeans appreciated Opera much more than Americans. Each village or hamlet in Europe had a small Opera House with regular performances. Kind of like the local movie theater here today. Gay Lynn lived in Germany and Switzerland for 2 years without fear or reservation - she had become an accomplished 'woman of the world'. She was a 'star' in the small European Opera House network for 2 years - completely on her own. She traveled from town-to-town in Germany, Austria and Switzerland with her operatic company.

After 5 years of a very hectic lifestyle in New York and Europe, Gay Lynn eventually returned home, to settle down, start a career, get married and start a family. Which is what she and Scott did.

Gay Lynn applied to the Duval County School system as a music teacher, was accepted and taught music for 30+ years. Her professional life's work was comprised of 2 specific careers - her singing career and her teaching career. They were entwined. Gay Lynn taught music with the school system during the day, gave private singing and piano lessons at her home in the afternoon, evenings and weekends. She set up a teaching studio in her home that was very busy for many years. She wound up doing exactly what she wanted to do and had great passion for her work. Gay Lynn had many promising young piano and voice students that received their musical start with her. I recall that one of her proudest achievements was that one of her long-time students was offered a scholarship to attend the Juilliard School of Music. This young man gave Gay Lynn credit for his start in music - he visited her and told her so. Another very proud moment for Gay Lynn.

On a different note, our Uncle, Larkin Collins, was the business / finance manager for the 'Southern-rock band', Lynyrd Skynyrd for many years. In the early 1980's, after the plane crash, Lynyrd Skynyrd was putting together a 'Reunion Tour'. Uncle Larkin asked Gay Lynn to audition to be one of the 'Honketts' - a background singer for the band. Gay Lynn told me that while she loved music in general, Southern rock was not her 'cup of tea' and all the travel did not interest her - so she declined.

For many of the 30+ years Gay Lynn taught music in the school system, she developed a Christmas Musical Pageant most every year in which the kids sang and performed for their families each holiday season. She developed these and many other programs utilizing many different musical instruments, to inspire young people to find their 'music of choice - voice or instrument'. Gay Lynn told me that she did not care for the administrative side of the Duval County School system but she LOVED teaching and exposing kids to all types of music!

At the very end of her life, Gay and I had private time together as we talked and laughed about her life - many of the things you've read above. We talked about her family - she absolutely loved her family. Gay told me that she also loved going to school every day to get to 'her kids'. Some of them looked up to her as more than a music teacher. She told me that she regularly had young people, in Middle school, High school and as young adults, show up at her classroom, just to say 'hi' and let her know what Gay Lynn meant to this young person. Some never pursued music, but still appreciated Gay Lynn's contribution to their lives.

Family and music were the passions in Gay Lynn's life. She always asked me and others how friends and family were doing. She truly cared. She lived the life she wanted, the way she wanted to live it.

The 66 years Gay Lynn was with us, she gave everything she had most every day. We are all better off because Gay Lynn was here. Remember Gay Lynn for the loving, caring person that she was and perhaps also for that 'special moment' that you and she shared.
That will be her legacy.

I miss you sis.