Thomas C. Lynch

Thomas Conner Lynch (May 20, 1904 – May 29, 1986) was an American lawyer who served as District Attorney in San Francisco and as Attorney General of California from 1964 to 1971.[1]

Thomas C. Lynch
Thomas C. Lynch (1).jpg
25th Attorney General of California
In office
August 31, 1964 – January 4, 1971
GovernorPat Brown
Ronald Reagan
Preceded byStanley Mosk
Succeeded byEvelle J. Younger
District Attorney of San Francisco
In office
Preceded byPat Brown
Succeeded byJohn J. Ferdon
Personal details
BornMay 20, 1904
San Francisco, California, U.S.
DiedMay 29, 1986 (aged 82)
San Francisco, California, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic

Early lifeEdit

Lynch was born in San Francisco in 1904 to Mary O'Conner and Patrick Lynch, an Irish immigrant from County Kerry. Lynch's mother died in 1906, and his father was killed in 1913 attempting to rescue a fellow worker while working on a sewer excavation. Subsequently raised by extended family members, Lynch attended Catholic grammar schools in San Francisco before attending Bellarmine College Preparatory and Santa Clara University. Lynch went on to attend law school at the University of San Francisco School of Law.[2]

Following law school, Lynch was admitted to the bar in 1930 and worked as an insurance underwriter before being appointed an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1933.[3] Lynch later became chief deputy to Pat Brown following Brown's election as San Francisco District Attorney in 1943.[4] Lifelong friends, Lynch and Brown had first met through mutual friends on trips to Yosemite.[2][4]

Lynch was introduced to his future wife Virginia Summers Lynch by Pat Brown in 1928 at a dance at Camp Curry in the Yosemite Valley. The two later eloped to Lovelock, Nevada.[5][4]

District Attorney of San FranciscoEdit

In 1951, Lynch was appointed District Attorney of San Francisco by Mayor Elmer Robinson following Brown's election as Attorney General.[6]

Attorney General of CaliforniaEdit

In 1964, Lynch was appointed Attorney General by Governor Pat Brown to succeed Stanley Mosk, who Brown had appointed to the Supreme Court of California. As Attorney General, Lynch helped draft legislation relating to law enforcement, including measures to control use of narcotics, to control promotion and sales of pornographic material and to control destructive devices and dangerous weapons. He also aided to improve the quality of law enforcement.[1]

Running for a full term in 1966, Lynch was the only Democrat to retain statewide office amid Ronald Reagan's defeat of Pat Brown, defeating Spencer Mortimer Williams.[3]

1968 Democratic Party presidential primariesEdit

Initially tapped to lead pro-Lyndon Johnson delegation prior to Johnson's decision not to seek reelection, Lynch ran as a favorite son candidate in the 1968 California Democratic presidential primary, placing third behind Robert F. Kennedy and Eugene McCarthy.[7][8]

Later lifeEdit

Lynch died in San Francisco on May 29, 1986 following a six year battle with cancer. At the time of his death, Lynch was an attorney with the San Francisco law firm Gerald Marcus.[9]


  1. ^ a b Thomas C. Lynch, 25th Attorney General, State of California Department of Justice
  2. ^ a b Lynch, Thomas (1982). A Career in Politics and the Attorney Generals Office: An Interview Conducted by Amelia Fry in 1978 (PDF). Regional Oral History Office, The Bancroft Library.
  3. ^ a b Ap (1986-06-01). "Thomas C. Lynch Dies at 83; Ex-Attorney General on Coast". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  4. ^ a b c Pawell, Miriam (2018). The Browns Of California. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 34.
  5. ^ Nolte, Carl (2004-08-05). "Virginia 'Pat' Lynch -- active in S.F. civic life". SFGate. Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  6. ^ "Organized Labor 5 January 1951 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  7. ^ "Santa Cruz Sentinel 8 March 1968 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". Retrieved 2020-02-02.
  8. ^ California Statement of Vote, Consolidated Primary Election, June 4, 1968. Sacramento: Frank M. Jordan, Secretary of State. 1968.
  9. ^ "Ex-Atty. Gen. Thomas Lynch Dies of Cancer". Los Angeles Times. 1986-06-01. Retrieved 2020-02-02.

External linksEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Stanley Mosk
California Attorney General
Succeeded by
Evelle J. Younger