Betty Lynch is considered a “voice for the West Valley.”
The former Avondale city councilwoman and vice mayor hasn’t let anyone stop her legacy of improving lives around the Valley.
“I brought sensitivity, compassion and love for people and understanding of people and their needs,” Lynch recalled about her time with the city. “I was able to give them a great deal.”
Lynch, who moved to Arizona in 1997, continues to give. She supports the fight against domestic violence, serving on the financial committee for A New Leaf. The effervescent Lynch is active at her home, La Loma Village in Litchfield Park.
The pandemic has brought a change to her work. She spends her days partaking in Zoom meetings and teleconferences.
“Because of my background, people were saying I should run for City Council in Litchfield Park,” she said. “I’m a Sun Health person. I wouldn’t be able to represent Sun Health if I did that. Representing Sun Health is very, very important to me. I want to be able to continue to do that. I can’t do that if I’m on something like Planning and Zoning or City Council.”
La Loma Village is a Sun Health Community. In terms of her residence, Lynch is supporting the construction of a 20,000-square-foot community center there. It’s been approved by the design review committee and waiting for planning and zoning to take it up.
She said Luke Air Force Base—another organization Lynch vehemently supports—is excited about the center.
“They’ll be able to use this center for parties and meetings,” said Lynch, who was on the Luke Advisory Committee for eight years. “I just loved being there so much. It was an exceptional opportunity for me, and I’m still in touch with them.”
Lynch has faced her fair share of tragedies. She lost her daughter, Cynthia, in 2005 to complications from Crohn’s disease and her husband a year later.
“He chose to take his life in 2006,” Lynch says. “That’s how I heal—by saying it that way.
“I have grown so much from all of the things that have happened in my life,” she said. “I do a lot of domestic violence work for that reason. I’m a survivor. If I can help just one woman at any point, that’s what I want to do.”
Lynch believes she inherited her need to give back from her father, Fred Stevens. She grew up “very, very poor” on a farm and didn’t know until she was older that her father was a “great giver.” To make extra money, he drove a milk truck and supplied people with things they needed.
“One time, when I was 4 years old, he had to deliver apples to a lady whom I didn’t know,” she recalled.
“I sat in her lap while he delivered his apples. It was Helen Keller. I just remember sitting in her lap and talking with her, but I don’t remember a lot. My dad just had an incredible love of people. He never wanted anything for himself. He just always wanted things for my mother and the three of us.”
She and her husband adopted their “beautiful” daughter when she was 12 weeks old. She was born in a Long Island hospital, where her mother was born on her grandfather’s birthday.
“I get goose pimples just talking about it,” she said. “She was a spitting image of me. One man in a cheese store said you could never deny that child—a few weeks after we adopted her. One day, she said to me, ‘I don’t think I’ll make 40. She made 39 and a half. She had a nomination to the Naval Academy, and she had almost perfect SATs. She was the joy of my life.”
To better her life, Lynch attended college in her mid-30s to increase her technical knowledge about being a bank teller, her occupation at the time. She was the first in her family to attend college.
“After I got my first degree, my undergrad, I went to work for a major bank and the president there said, ‘I’ve never seen anyone your age come out with straight A’s.’ A few years later, I went back and got my master’s, and that was also in finance, and I stayed in banking.”
At home, she sits on the Committee for Lifelong Learning and Understanding, where she resides. She also is the chairwoman of its scholarship committee that awards scholarships for the staff because residents cannot tip staff. Residents annually raise the dollars to fund the scholarships to various programs and universities.
Lynch calls her greatest accomplishment winning the Bishop Curtis Legacy Award from Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. She graduated summa cum laude from the university with a Bachelor of Science degree in accounting and a minor in business administration.
She also earned an MBA with a major in finance and a minor in controllership, summa cum laude, and again with an MBA in finance and a minor in controllership.
Both degrees were dual majors earned in three years while working full time and raising her young daughter.
“The award blew me away because this is the first award,” said Lynch, the former Peoria Chamber of Commerce executive director. “I admire Bishop Curtis and all the community work he did. I read about him before I ever went to school there. The president, the alumni association and the board of trustees felt I most emulated what he did in his life.”
She’s also proud of her time as the Peoria Chamber of Commerce executive director.
“One of the first things I had to do was sit on the committee that was going to build the Challenger Center,” she said. “I felt my life had come full circle. It’s the only free-standing Challenger Center in the nation, as far as I know.”
Her lifetime motto is one of simplicity and significance: “Give to the world the best you can, and the world will give back to you.”
“I’m proud of the work I’ve done and very grateful,” said Lynch, who received the 2016 Glendale Ethics in Action Award. “I still have people in Avondale who call me for things. I’ve spoken at a couple City Council meetings. Being so respected in doing those things is a great honor for me.”