Robert M. (“Mark”) Lynch was born in West Virginia, on April 11, 1924. He spent all his early years in the Mountain Sate, of which he has very fond memories.
He was drafted by the U.S. Army in August 1943. After basic training, including training as a Medic, he was shipped to Europe on the Queen Mary.
From England he was sent on the Normandy invasion, landing on H-Hour of D-Day in Utah Beach with the 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion. As a Combat Medic, he participated in five campaigns through France, Belgium (Battle of the Bulge) and Germany, crossing the Rhine on 26 March 1945. In Cologne he saw that first German jet fighter (Me 262). After V-E day, his outfit remained in Germany until 19 June 1945.
The 87th Chemical Mortar Battalion returned to the U.S. on 2 August 1945. It was scheduled to participate on the invasion of Japan after a 30 day furlough; however, Japan surrendered on August 15. During that furlough Mark married his first wife, Ginny and a few years later their daughter, Jo Ellen, was born.
After the war, Mark attended college on the G.I. Bill. He graduated from what is now Salem International University, but due to the lack of technical jobs in WV, he began working on the department store retail business.
In 1952 he and a friend decided to come to Florida, and at the State Employment Office in West Palm Beach they found out that a phosphate mining company in Bartow named International Minerals & Chemicals Corporation was looking for lab employees.
After meeting with the IMCC Assistant Chief Chemist in Bartow, they were hired on the spot and thus began Mark’s 35 year career with “IMC.” Mark started out as a Shift Chemist, followed by promotions to Shift Supervisor, Sr. Chemist, and Chief Chemist – Special Services.
In 1959, Mark got divorced and sometime later he remarried Lois Bailey, who had two daughters (Carolyn Ann and Beverly Jean) from a previous marriage. Mark lost Lois in August, 2011.
Mark is very proud of having been instrumental in the development of the colorimetric method to determine total phosphorous in fertilizers. He was very active in the Association of Fertilizer and Phosphates Chemists (AFPC), where he was a member and held the positions of Secretary, Vice President, and President. He also served on the Methods Committee.
Mark retired in June 1987. He currently lives in Brandon, Florida, where he keeps busy aiding other military veterans less capable to care for themselves.
In 2015 he was awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s highest military award, for services rendered during the liberation of France in WWII.
In October 2015, Mark Lynch was awarded the Hero of the Industry award by the AFPC.