Obituary for Joanne Lynch of Philadelphia, PA

My mom was happy to see the Pope when he came to Philadelphia.

Joanne Lynch died Thursday, April 27th, 2017, at her home in Wildwood Crest, NJ. Born to William and Joan Shefski on July 17th, 1957, in Philadelphia, PA, Joanne is survived by her mother, her husband Walter, her brothers William, Daniel, and Patrick, her sisters Barbara Anne, Dianne, Suzanne, and Peggy Anne, her children Katherine, Matthew, Megan, and Sean, her grandchildren Rosie, Olivia, and Ronan, as well as numerous other family members. Joanne has been battling Ovarian cancer since she was diagnosed in February of 2016. She celebrated her 40th wedding anniversary with her husband and family in October of 2016. Joanne was a dedicated member of her parish, Notre Dame de la Mer, in Wildwood, NJ, and found joy in teaching CCD classes and committing herself to other charitable work. A hard worker until her sudden diagnosis with stage four cancer, Joanne’s last job was as a server at Aleathea’s Restaurant in Cape May, NJ. 

Above all, Joanne was a devoted mother who sacrificed her time and energy to help provide for her family through phases of financial and emotional hardships. Joanne passionately cared for her family, and was never afraid of making her opinion known, especially with her husband. Inheriting her mother Joan’s strong will, Joanne had the ability to seem contentious even if she agreed with you on the subject at hand. Joanne’s love for baseball and football stemmed from her late father, William Shefski, who was a sports writer for the Philadelphia Daily News.

Joanne graduated from Haddon Township High School in 1975. Her favorite classes were Russian and English. Even though Joanne did not attend college, she was intelligent and very knowledgeable on a vast range of subjects, especially religion, politics, literature, art, fashion, and design. Joanne was immensely proud of her Irish heritage, and delighted in learning about Irish culture, loved reading Irish literature, listening to Irish music, and watching Irish dancing. 

Joanne worked countless jobs, including as a server, shoe salesperson, and furniture salesperson, however, she especially loved working at Aleathea’s Restaurant because of her co-workers and the environment. Aleathea’s is a beautiful Victorian Inn right by the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May, and since Joanne’s favorite past time was sunbathing on the beach, it was the perfect place to work for her. Joanne’s other favorite activities included reading, watching sports, and praying. 

Joanne was a fantastic salesperson and server, but her best role was as a homemaker. One could often find Joanne singing Feist, Sting, or U2 while cleaning the kitchen. As a mother, Joanne invested all of her hopes and dreams into her children. Her strong Catholic faith was her guidance. 

A private viewing will be held for close friends and family at Assumption Church Monday at 9am. The funeral service will be held at Assumption Church in Wildwood Crest on Monday at 10am. After the funeral, attendees are invited to gather at Aleathea’s Restaurant in Cape May. Interment will be at St. Mary’s Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Love of Linda Cancer Fund, PO Box 1053, Wildwood, NJ, 08260. 

My mother and father at the Irish Famine Memorial at Battery Park in NYC.


the Ben Franklin Bridge
will hang here
for centuries
long past
when the Delaware River
will dry up
sucked into
un-breathe-able air
and becoming
a barren gulch
covered in wreckage
car tires and metal junk
sticking out of the dirt
the bridge will sag
under heavy heat
as wealthy cyborgs
look down while flying
over abandoned Philadelphia
a quaint object
to them – a bridge
the city will be foreign
and obsolete

Message Failed to Send

How can a heart rip
apart so slowly?

How much kinetic force
would it take…

to bring back the past
to summon sadness

to materialize
the actual feeling?

Dull objects ignite
irretrievable memories

of people who are now
in the ground.

How does a random task
unearth disconnected roots?

How do walks
thru crowded city streets

evoke images
of lonely suburban emotions?

Where does desire
for familial love

derive from?
How can you look

at a child
and not die

for what never was
and how it never will?

How does sorrow creep
into our lives?

How could a stranger
across from you on the train

ask if the newspaper next to you
is yours’ and if you could hand it

to her, and in that moment
you wonder why anyone could ask you

of anything
because you destroyed

the most important thing
and now the Delaware River

calls to you-
the bottom of the river.

You sit on the train
and stare at the surface

and wonder what bedrock looks like
thru the depth and murkiness

of the fluid’s body
and you know

that regardless
in the end

you’ll drown
face up.