Majorie Ward Lynch, 58, a deputy administrator of the American Revolution Bicentennial Administration and then an under secretary of the Department of Health, Education and Welfare in the Ford administration, died of cancer Tuesday at the home of a daughter in Tacoma, Wash.
Mrs. Lynch was currently a vice president of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Ala., responsible for continuing education and other off-campus programs. David Mathews, Secretary of HEW when Mrs. Lynch was in the department, is the president of the University of Alabama.
"She was never native, but she believed in the potential of all kinds of people, most especially those the rest of us were too quick to reject," Mathews said in a statement issued yesterday. "She wanted legislative and federal agencies and schools to nurture and unleash that potential."
HEW Secretary Joseph A. Califano said yesterday that Mrs. Lynch's "compassion, her concern for the poor and the disabled, her humane yet efficient administration of HEW programs earned her the affection and respect of thousands of our employees."
Mrs. Lynch began her public career as a member of the Washington state legislature. She served in it from 1961 to 1971, and became chairwoman of its higher education committee. Among the programs she was credited with helping to enact were a community college system and mandatory education for the handicapped. She also helped provide group homes for the mentally retarded.
In 1971, she became regional director for the federal ACTION programs. ACTION administers the Peace Corps, VISTA, and the Foster Grandparents Program. In 1973, she moved to Washington to become director of domestic operations for ACTION. She was named deputy administrator of the Bicentennial administration in October, 1974, and remained there until November, 1975, when she took over the day-to-day operations of HEW as its under secretary.
Mrs. Lynch was born in London, England. She served in the Women's Auxiliary of the Royal Air Force during World War II. She met her husband, Dr. E. Donald Lynch, in Paris following the liberation. They moved to Yakima, Wash. The marriage ended in divorce.
Mrs. Lynch's survivors include three daughters, Valeria Barber, and Daphne and Teresa Lynch, all of Tacoma, and her mother, Mrs. Geoffrey Ward, of Clacton-on-Sea, England.
The family suggests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of contributions to the Foundation for the Handicapped, Inc., 1600 W. Armory Way, Seattle, Wash., 98119.