Former Seaboard Marine President and CEO John Lynch, 76, died this afternoon after sudden complications from a brief illness.

After joining Seaboard Marine in 1988, Mr. Lynch served as President and CEO from 1992 until his retirement in 2005. During Mr. Lynch’s tenure, the company grew from a small roll-on/roll-off carrier, operating in Central America, to the leading carrier based in the Port of Miami providing services to more than 25 different countries.

“John was not only a great leader, he was truly a good person and a great friend”, said Jose Sierra, Executive Vice President, “This is an extremely sad day.”

Mr. Lynch was born in Yorkshire, England on June 23, 1933.

After attending the University of Southampton School of Navigation, he began a 55-year maritime industry career as an apprentice on a commercial vessel who rose through the ranks to serving as a chief mate. He joined Grace Line in 1957 and served as country manager in Panama, Colombia and Chile. He later joined New York-based Pan Atlantic Line in 1972 and served as its President before joining Seaboard Marine.

Mr. Lynch was honored in 2006 with the prestigious International Golden Compass Award which is awarded annually by the Port Everglades Seafarer’s House to one esteemed leader in the maritime industry. In addition to serving many years as a Director of the Coast Guard Foundation, Mr. Lynch was one of ten honorees in the inaugural class of “Trade Pioneers” inducted into the Florida Foreign Trade Association’s Hall of Fame.

Mr. Lynch’s accomplishments at Seaboard Marine included starting several new trade lanes from the Port of Miami to the Caribbean and South America. By broadening Seaboard’s scope of services, Seaboard’s reputation as a first-class operator was strengthened. Under Mr. Lynch’s guidance, additional port calls were added throughout the United States and the Caribbean Basin and the fleet grew from six small vessels to more than thirty ships with annual revenues surpassing $500 million in Lynch’s final year as President.

“John was a visionary. He saw the potential of trading partners throughout the Caribbean and Latin America and had a great sense of timing and understanding of when and how that Seaboard could most profitably penetrate such markets. Although strong-minded, he was a keen listener to both employees and customers alike. Started in 1983, we are still a relatively young company and it was due to John’s strong leadership for so many of these critical growing years that Seaboard Marine has been so successful,“ noted Edward Gonzalez, President and CEO.

Mr. Lynch’s wife Virginia preceded him in death. Mr. Lynch is survived by two brothers, five daughters, one son, ten grandchildren, two great-granddaughters, one great-grandson and hundreds of friends throughout the world.

A memorial service will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7 at the St. Raymond Church located at 3475 SW 17th Street, Coral Gables, FL 33145-1718. 

In lieu of flowers, the  family suggests donations to three of Mr. Lynch’s favorite charities:

The Seafarers House. 1850 Eller Drive #500, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316
http://www.seafarershouse.org/

Special Olympics of South Florida. 2335 NW 107th Avenue, Box 57, Miami, FL 33172
http://www.specialolympicsflorida.org/

ARC of South Florida (Association of Retarded Citizens). 5555 Biscayne Blvd. Miami, FL 33137
http://www.arcsofla.org/

An online Guest Book has been established at miamiherald.com/obituaries for those who would like to share their thoughts with Mr. Lynch’s family.