Neil Lynch, a former justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, has died after a long battle with cancer, Chief Justice Ralph Gants announced Friday.
Lynch, a Hingham resident, died Wednesday, Gants said. He was 84.
Lynch was appointed an associate justice by Gov. Edward King in 1981, and served until his mandatory retirement at age 70 in 2000.
He served as chairman of the SJC's Commission to Study Racial and Ethnic Bias in the Courts. Following his retirement from the bench, he served on the Court Management and Advisory Board, and was president of the Flaschner Judicial Institute, which seeks to improve the administration of justice. He also taught at law school.
"He leaves behind a profound legacy of leadership and devotion to the people of the commonwealth. He will be deeply missed," Gants said.
Herbert Wilkins, chief justice from 1996 to 1999, served with Lynch for 18 years and remembered him as "a congenial friend and team player who held to his principles with integrity."
Prior to his appointment to the bench, Lynch served as King's chief legal counsel from 1979 to 1981. From 1965 to 1976, Lynch was Chief Legal Counsel for the Massachusetts Port Authority.
Lynch, a Bridgewater native, had undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University.
He is survived by his wife, Kathleen, three children and two stepchildren.
A funeral Mass is scheduled for Monday at Resurrection Church in Hingham.