Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Captain Dick Lynn Dies At 88

Richard James Lynn, 88, better known as "Captain" or "Dick Lynn" of LaBelle, FL, formerly from Kansas City, Missouri departed this life for his next voyage on October 1, 2014 while surrounded by his family he loved so deeply. 

Richard and his family settled in LaBelle over 16 years ago and built a home on the Caloosahatchee River where many a special event were held. Richard was unselfish with his time and equipment, he was dedicated to quiet community service and the betterment of LaBelle thru service to church, school, civic groups, Habitat for Humanity and the United Way. Richard owned and operated 4 game rooms in the area: the Lion's Den in LaBelle, Let It Roll in Clewiston, Pennies from Haven in Moore Haven and the Pyramid in Lehigh Acres. 

A celebration of his life was held October 5, 2014 at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church followed by a gathering of family and friends at the family home where his years of military service were honored by the playing of Taps before sundown.

Richard was born on December 25, 1925 in Kansas City, Missouri to James Harrison and Virginia Belle (Ashurst) Lynn. He graduated from N.E. High School and attended Kansas City Jr. College. Richard was a veteran of the U.S. Army Air Corps in World War II where he served in the occupation forces of Japan and the U.S. Air Force during the Korean War. Amongst his many business endeavors, Richard was a grocery-man and butcher at Lynn's Markets, the first grocery chain in K.C. He also developed real estate in Kansas, Missouri and Florida where his generosity allowed many families to own their own homes.

Richard's greatest passion was discovered as a young man when he found the Missouri River. Without hesitation he started and operated the Sharlyn Marina and restaurant for 10 years; the first and last marina on the Missouri River in the Kansas City area. Several years later a horrific fire consumed the marina and over 100 boats in storage. Richard began again only this time he chose riverboats. 

He began with a 60 passenger boat and opened the Kansas City Riverboat Co. in K.C., MO. During the 18 years he operated there he built the Missouri River Queen, a 600 passenger, triple decker, sternwheel riverboat (now the Georgia Queen in Savannah, Georgia). With a vision and burning desire to grow he moved his entire fleet to Kansas City, KS and built River City USA. 

It was here he added the retired U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dredge William S. Mitchell; 320 foot side-wheel dredge. He converted the goliath vessel to a living museum. He added two restaurants, a carrousel, an aviary and two passenger trains with the longest 24 gauge underground tunnel in the country. It was there he built his largest and last vessel (800 passengers) the America.

Richard spent over 35 years carrying more than a million passengers safely on the Missouri River and its' tributaries. In addition, he assisted the local civil defense, fire and police departments and the US Coast Guard in numerous search and rescue operations.
Captain Lynn was awarded the Congressional Silver Life Saving Medal of Honor, which was presented by Senator Bob Dole. In addition, his first mate aboard the motor vessel, The Westport Landing, was also awarded a presidential citation by President Richard Nixon. He was a founding member of the Passenger Vessel Association. Richard's foresight and determination set the wheels in motion for this small, fledgling operation to grow to over 600 national and international members today. He has been inducted into the Hometown Heroes of Kansas City, as well as the Hall of Fame for the Passenger Vessel Association, Washington, D.C.

Richard is survived by his wife Kathleen (K.C.) Stanley-Lynn of the home; his sons Richard J. Lynn and wife Kimberly of Kansas City, MO, David J. Lynn and Darlene of Seymour, MO and Wolfgang J. Lynn student at UCF; his daughters Katherine (K.C.) Lynn of Lake Worth, FL and Charlie A. Lynn of the home; his grandchildren Kari (Lynn) Tomlinson and husband Jeremy, Sparkle, Crystal, Richard (Ricky) and Joseph (Joey) Lynn of Kansas City, MO; his great-grandchildren Chloe, Amelia and Jack Tomlinson of Grain Valley, MO; sisters Celia Irwin and husband Marty and Virgie Holberg and husband Dave; mother in-law Mary Bernadine Mendon-Stanley; brother in-law Joe Stanley (UPS) and 15 other brother and sister in-laws; over 30 nieces and nephews; and his furry "monochromatic pup", Rocky; as well as many, many friends. 

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