By CHRIS ZADOROZNY, Sports Editor
Since 1947, Frank Joseph James “Budd” Lynch has been involved with the Detroit Red Wings organization. Today, that long tenure ended, as he passed away at the age of 95.
Lynch started his career with the Red Wings in 1947 after coming back from World War II, fighting for the Canadian Army’s Essex Scottish Regiment. Lynch hails from Hamilton, Ontario, but has lived much of his life in Wyandotte, Michigan.
Before he traveled to Europe, he had a job in high school with CKLW, the famous Windsor radio station in 1939, until he joined the infantry.
During his time in Europe during the war, he stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, but six weeks later, things changed. He was inspecting a hedgerow with his troops, looking for German snipers. A couple of kids popped out of nowhere with grenades in their hands, without pins.
As soon as the children scattered, Lynch was hit by what he described as, “a titanic jot.” A three-inch rocket went straight clean through his right arm, eventually losing it in surgery. He also lost his shoulder and scapula as well.
After returning, Lynch took up a job with WWJ, as the play-by-play announcer for the Red Wings. WWJ decided it wanted to do TV, so Lynch was converted to color commentary until 1975, when he was moved into the PR department.
In 1982, he retired with his wife, and took a vacation to Hawaii, but his retirement didn’t last long, as he was asked to come back on and do the public address announcing by Marian Ilitch, the wife of current Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch.
Since then, he has been the voice that all the fans hear when they come to Joe Louis Arena.
Lynch started his own charity and has a golf outing for it every summer. “The Budd Lynch Golf Classic,” helped fund the Guidance Center, which helps families and children with a plethora of services. The organizers plan to continue the outing as a memorial.
He is survived by his six daughters, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren (as of 2009). His two wives have since passed.
The Hockey Hall of Famer (inducted 1985) will be missed by many Red Wings fans. His voice is unique to himself, and it will be very hard for the Red Wings to replace such a humble man.
Hockey heaven gained one of the most iconic voices the hockey world has ever seen, as he now sits behind the mic up there.
Rest in Peace. Budd Lynch 1917-2012