Dale L. Lynch, 87, died on May 27, 2009, in Healdsburg, Calif. He was born on Aug. 17, 1921, in Long Beach, Calif., the second of four children to John and Effie Lynch. He graduated from Kern County Union High School in Bakersfield and attended Los Angeles City College. He served in the U.S. Third Army under George S. Patton, 89th Infantry Division. He served five combat months, with an additional special assignment of seven months stationed in Linz, Austria, repatriating displaced persons throughout the European Theater.
Beginning his career with Safeway Stores as a 16-year-old clerk in Greenfield Corners, Calif., near Bakersfield, Mr. Lynch was eventually promoted to division manager in Seattle. Under his management, that division became the top producer for the entire company. His final assignment as president and Chief Operating Officer of Safeway Stores, Inc. brought him to the Bay Area. During Mr. Lynch’s presidency, the company operated 2,300 stores in 29 states and nine other countries, with over 170,000 employees. Recognized as a visionary, he spearheaded Safeway’s move toward superstores, one-stop centers with pharmacies, delis, premium wine departments and more, laying the groundwork for the look of supermarkets today. Retiring in 1983, Mr. Lynch joined the faculty of the School of Business at the University of Southern California under Dr. James Stevenson.
Upon retirement, Mr. Lynch developed a wine grape-growing business in Sonoma County with his son and his wife, Marjorie. The business remains in the hands of John Lynch, of Healdsburg.
Mr. Lynch was a member of Healdsburg Kiwanis and active in Healdsburg Branch #157 of Sons in Retirement, serving two terms as Big SIR. He also served as Worshipful Master of the Free and Accepted Masons, Wayfarers Lodge #115 in Seattle. He had a deep and abiding appreciation for the beauty of the natural world and spent many happy hours outdoors.
Mr. Lynch is survived by his beloved wife, Joanne Foote-Lynch; son, John Lynch (Linda), of Healdsburg, Calif.; daughter, Susan Watkins (Sam), of Mukilteo, Wash.; daughter, Lorna Willard (Dave), of Sumner, Wash.; and sister, Lorraine Bischke, of Hemet, Calif. Cherished grandchildren are Riley Lynch, Garth Lynch, Nikki Fretwell, Davis Fretwell, Daryl Willard, Jesse Willard and Morgan Lynch. His wife of 53 years, Marjorie Lynch, preceded him in death in 1997. His family is grateful for the strength of purpose that he possessed and the faithfulness he exhibited to each member.
The family held a private service and Mr. Lynch’s ashes are buried at Oak Mound Cemetery in Healdsburg. Remembrances are suggested to the Safeway Companies Employee Association (SCEA) emergency assistance fund: contact Deborah Davis, (626) 821-6135.