Frank R. Lynn, whose North Toledo used record shop drew devotees from across the globe seeking gems in rock, pop, jazz, and blues, died Saturday in the Woodmark at Sun City in Arizona. He was 80.
He had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and Alzheimer’s disease, his daughter Stella Sheaves said.
Because of his health, he moved about three years ago to Arizona to be near his daughter. His store, AA Records Are Us, closed with his departure. His daughter found a West Coast record store to buy and take away his vast collection of 78s, 45s, and LPs spread out over three floors at 3010 Lagrange St.
He had about 500,000 records in his inventory, he told The Blade in 2007.
“I still buy records — almost every day. I buy more than I sell,” Mr. Lynn told The Blade then. He even rented a truck and hired a driver to accompany him when picking up large collections.
Mr. Lynn was a retired union construction worker through Laborers’ Local 500. His specialties included tearing out industrial furnaces, which often were asbestos laden, his sister, Shirley Tupman, said.
To help support his family, he got into the vending business and eventually owned 5,000 gumball machines in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan factories, bars, and stores.
“He was the hardest working guy I’ve ever seen,” said his sister, whom he enlisted to assist.
He sold his first used records — which his children contributed — at a family garage sale in the 1970s. The records sold well, so he started buying albums at other garage and yard sales and selling them at flea markets.
A boon came as radio stations sold off their libraries of singles and albums in the 1980s and converted to CDs.
“He bought records by the semi load,” his daughter said.
He read books and studied the value and lore of rare records. He sought guidance from others in the business. And he opened a store in the 1990s. Transactions were cash-only, and he refused to sell to anyone he suspected of reselling records online.
He drew customers from the United Kingdom, Japan, Sweden, France, and Germany, he told The Blade.
“He loved talking to the people. People would come in and spend hours,” his son-in-law Chuck Sheaves said.
Mr. Lynn liked the pace.
“I get maybe one customer every two to three days. Sometimes nobody,“ he told The Blade in 2007. “I don't care if I do any business. I just want to relax.”
"The ones who do come in say, 'I want this to remain secret. I don't want my friends to know.’”
He was born June 7, 1937, to Dorothy and Frank G. Lynn and grew up in North Toledo. He attended Woodward High School and the former Macomber Vocational High School. In the Navy, he served aboard destroyers. Afterward, he had a short stint on Great Lakes freighters, his sister said.
His wife, Esther Lynn, died Oct. 29, 1997. They married Sept. 28, 1963.
Surviving are his daughters, Stella Sheaves, Dorothy Lynn, and Helen Henninger; sons, Frank and James; sister, Shirley Tupman; seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be from 2-8 p.m. Friday in the Urbanski Funeral Home on Lagrange Street, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at St. Joseph Church, 628 Locust St., where he was a member.
The family suggests tributes to the Alzheimer’s Association or St. Joseph Church.
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