Maura "Whim" Lynch, 69; cofounded Need in Deed

Maura William Lynch. Besides the nonprofit, she also ran businesses in Chestnut Hill.
Maura William Lynch. Besides the nonprofit, she also ran businesses in Chestnut Hill.
Posted: June 14, 2014

Maura "Whim" William Lynch, 69, of Wyndmoor, cofounder of Need in Deed, a nonprofit that shows teachers how to connect the classroom with the community, died Thursday, June 5, of heart failure at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania.

In 1987, Mrs. Lynch and Mary Hopkins formed the nonprofit organization, based at 211 N. 13th St., Philadelphia. She served as its executive director until 1999, when she stepped down, but stayed active as a board member.

"Her legacy to the field of service-learning, and to Need in Deed, in particular, will far outlast her brief time with us," the organization said in a statement.

Mrs. Lynch, whose maiden name was Gaffney, grew up in Cedarhurst, N.Y., and followed her creative muse to New York City, where she received an associate's degree from the Tobé-Coburn School and worked in fashion. In 1970, she married Raymond "Skip" C. Lynch Sr.

The two moved to the Philadelphia area and settled in Wyndmoor. Mrs. Lynch ran two businesses in Chestnut Hill - Nina Needlepoint from 1971 to 1976, and Business Unusual from 1972 to 1982. The latter was a cottage industry that marketed a dip and dressing food product.

Mrs. Lynch was a passionate advocate of service-learning because, her family said, she believed it would help schoolchildren become useful members of society.

What started as a grassroots effort in several schools is now a citywide network of support, enabling teachers to guide students through a yearlong project designed by the pupils themselves.

In 2007, on the organization's 20th anniversary, Mrs. Lynch was honored for her service in an event at the Philadelphia Navy Yard chaired by former Gov. Ed Rendell.

Mrs. Lynch also was a productive potter, jeweler, and photographer, working locally and in a studio in Bridgehampton, N.Y.

Besides her husband, she is survived by daughter Daphne G.L. Fifield; son Raymond "Rummy" C. Lynch Jr.; five grandchildren; and two sisters. A brother died earlier.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, June 13, at the Church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, 8000 St. Martin's Lane, Philadelphia. Burial is private.

Donations may be made to Need in Deed via www.needindeed.org.


bcook@phillynews.com

610-313-8102

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