Paddy Lynch grew up in Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills as part of the Lynch & Sons Funeral Directors family that has been operating a network of funeral homes in the Detroit area for three generations. Lynch works at the Clawson location as a licensed funeral director while investing in meaningful historic preservation projects with an emphasis on wellness and self-care.
Lynch is the son of Pat Lynch and Mary Callaghan Lynch and the brother of Caitlyn Lynch. Both mother and daughter are world-class opera singers. While Lynch says he “didn’t get the singing gene,” he attended Holy Name and Brother Rice Catholic schools, then continued his education at Boston College, where he played football and majored in English and Theology. After graduating in 2006, he moved to Haiti to teach and work with Missions of Charity before returning home to earn a mortuary science degree from Wayne State University and join the family business.
“My whole life has been shaped by mortality. A funeral is a form of catharsis, ritual and community care. Funeral homes are a secular business – in essence, big old houses that allow for prayer, reflection and letting go,” he explains. “The projects I get involved in happen organically and involve bringing people together and facilitating community-oriented experiences.”
In 2011, Lynch began his passion for historical restoration by purchasing the Stanley Kresge mansion in Detroit’s Arden Park Historic District. Over the years, he has opened his 10,000 square foot home to a variety of charitable and cultural events.
“It’s a great old house. When I bought it, I was single and rented rooms to friends while renovating room by room.” In 2020, Lynch married his wife, Nhu Truong, a scientist, and she became involved in his passion for renovating historic spaces. They now live in their historic home with their growing family.
In 2017, Lynch purchased and began restoring The Schvitz, a storied Jewish cultural landmark and the only historic bathhouse left in Detroit. “Being involved with this layer of Jewish history has had an enormous impact on my life. This place was the JCC of the neighborhood. In the 1930s, Polish Jewish community members would come to the bathhouse to purify for Shabbat. It’s a very ritualistic experience,” he said.“I started going there weekly to relax, detach and sweat out stress, then decided to buy the property and help bring it back.”
Recently, Lynch began restoration work on the 4,000 square foot ballroom above the Detroit bathhouse and opened Schvitz North, a second location along Lake Huron in Lexington, featuring a rental farmhouse with sauna and cold plunge experiences.
In 2022, Lynch and Truong launched The Convent, a collective of artists and wellness practitioners in a former Detroit convent. “I started out just wanting to help save the building, but my wife had bigger ideas to create inexpensive studio and wellness space.The nuns who lived here for years had the same art and wellness emphasis.”
Lynch also recently opened the Lynch & Sons Healing Center, which offers a range of cost-free traditional and alternative grief support services that are spiritual in nature but non-religious. The center is located at St. John the Baptist Romanian Church in Detroit.
The busy entrepreneur's latest purchase is Detroit’s beloved Dutch Girl Donuts on Woodward.
“I’m sentimental and nostalgic. I was sad when it closed. I’ve loved Dutch Girl Donuts since I was a child and regularly stopped by. Dutch Girl is worth preserving," Lynch explains. “Donuts are a little piece of joy and accessible to everyone.”
He reflects, “All the projects I’ve gotten involved in are cathartic projects. Spiritualism and care-ism carry through these buildings. I am blessed with a supportive spouse and incredible staff. I couldn’t do this without them.”
Story: Tracy Donohue
Photo: Laurie Tennent