County leaders and commission colleagues recall a quiet man with a lot to say
By Carole Robinson, Senior Staff Writer
Clyde and his wife Louise on their farm. Submitted
For 34-years, John Hancock sat near Clyde Lynch during county commission meetings and watched a man who was as interested in the average man as he was any CEO; a people person who sometimes came across as gruff and rough around the edges but had a heart of gold for those in need.
Clyde was best known for his grasp of numbers. He is known for being faster than a calculator when it came to assessing large figures involved in public projects.
“He was always mindful of excess,” Hancock said. “He didn’t like excess in any form of government. You could sell him on needs but he wouldn’t give an inch if he thought there was excess.”
In 1978, Williamson County was beginning a transformation from an agrarian to a suburban county, requiring multiple infrastructure projects.
At that time, money was so tight there was hardly enough to pave a couple of roads a year. Education needed much improvement and the parks and recreation department, so popular today, didn’t even exist.
“We had to work together to find funding to move ahead,” Hancock said. “The county has done extremely well. Clyde was truly a governor – a throttle restrictor. He kept things from getting out of control. He was disciplined and he helped the county maintain a strong financial footing.”
Clyde was a tremendous ally in battle and a tremendous adversary, Hancock said, but he added that he could fight and walk away.
He didn’t hold a grudge and when or if it became apparent he was wrong, he would admit he was wrong.
“Clyde and I didn’t agree on everything, but we agreed on important things,” Hancock said. “He was a great mentor; he was a great friend. If you knew him you had to love him.”
“Clyde was a very unique individual; an icon and a blessing for this county,” said Judy Hayes, who served 20 of her 28 years on the commission representing the same district. “Over the last 37 years the county has made great progress, and a lot of that was due to the talents and careful conservative values of Clyde.”
Fellow commissioners said fairness was important to him and he tried to be fair and expected the same of others.
If something was good for his district, then it was good for the whole county. While the two didn’t always agree, Hayes said Clyde was not one to shout down ideas, but rather said what he thought and that was that.
Clyde had a gentle side he didn’t often display.
“He loved animals; he loved his farm; he loved the land,” Hayes said. “He loved working with his cows and the 4-H program. Most of all he loved his children and his grandchildren and he loved his community. It’s hard to put in words. He was big in life – not stature, huge in his own person.”
“I was totally humbled and honored to serve with him,” she added. “I lost a dear friend.”
“Clyde will be missed not just because of his ability to understand how the county budget works, but his sincere appreciation and love for this county,” said County Mayor Rogers Anderson. “Although his passion was for agriculture, his cows and the land, his keen, sharp and focused mind was about providing services for this county without “breaking” the bank. (He was a) leader within our county for the past 35-plus years...”
“Clyde Lynch was one of those outstanding public servants,” said Diane Giddens, county mayor’s administrative assistant. “I had the utmost respect and admiration for him. He was quiet—unless he had something to say. He listened, but when he had a point to be made, you could take it to the bank. He is a Williamson County icon whose impact will be felt long down the road by people who will never know him.”
Clyde Lynch had a significant impact on two young attorneys, beginning more than 30 years ago. The two reflected this week on how he influenced them personally and professionally during the early years of their careers.
“As a young lawyer in the 1980s, I learned a lot about county government from Mr. Lynch. No one was better at evaluating and understanding the budget,” said Jeff Moseley, a partner in Buerger, Moseley and Carson. “Mr. Lynch was fair and consistent. His word was better than any written agreement. While he represented one commission district, he applied his principles consistently across the county. He had little patience for parsing words. He cut to the core of an issue and applied a common sense approach that served the Williamson County, and the Commission well.”
Lisa McGhee Carson, a Williamson County native, returned to Franklin after law school to begin practicing as an attorney alongside Rick Buerger, Jim Petersen and Jeff Moseley.
“Clyde and Louise Lynch were among the first clients I worked with when I came to Franklin as a law clerk with Petersen & Buerger. I grew up in Williamson County so I already knew about Mr. Lynch’s service on the County Commission, and I have to admit, as a history major I was a little intimidated by his math skills,” Carson said this week. “He and Mrs. Lynch immediately made me feel welcome and taught me the ropes of county operations (and brought me some delicious home grown tomatoes, too).
“Mr. Lynch and I worked through some tough cases involving county issues, but my most unnerving experience with him was the day that Mr. and Mrs. Lynch asked me to settle a disagreement between the two of them (about who my grandmother was). Fortunately, they were both still my friends when it was over and I have been blessed to count them both as friends ever since. Leaders and public servants like Clyde Lynch are becoming all too rare, and I treasure the fact that I had the opportunity to learn from this fine man.”
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Posted on: 2/27/2014