Donald Tynes Sr., a retired state and university employee and the longest-serving board member of Maryland’s State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU), has died of cancer March 22 at Sinai Hospital. The Randallstown resident was 79.
Mr. Tynes Sr. joined SECU’s board in 1975 when the credit union operated only a handful of branches and remained on the board as it grew into a multi-billion dollar company, until 2022. The credit union recognized his four decades of contributions. in 2018 when the SECU MD Foundation established a scholarship in his name for students at the Graves School of Business at Morgan State University.
“He always put others before himself. He really tried to help everyone. He was on a lot of different boards and a lot of different things in the community. After he retired, he seemed to have become even more active,” said his son Donald Tynes Jr., of San Jose, Calif.
Donald Tynes Sr., son of Ivory Lee Tynes, a homemaker, was born and raised in East Baltimore. He attended Paul Laurence Dunbar High School where he met his wife of 43 years, Carolyn Barnes Tynes.
Mr. Tynes Sr., along with his sister Shirley E. Thomas, became first generation students. Mr. Tynes Sr. received a bachelor’s degree in geography from Morgan State University in 1965 and went on to earn a master’s degree in business administration from Loyola College in Maryland in 1978. He married Carolyn Barnes in 1964 and the couple raised their son , Mr. Tynes Jr. and his daughter, the late Donna Elise Tynes, in Randallstown.
After graduating from Loyola, Mr. Tynes began working as a corporate dealer liaison at the General Motors Broening Highway Assembly Plant, formerly known as the Chevrolet Fisher body. He began a long career in human relations when he started working in the compensation division of the state personnel department.
Mr. Tynes Sr. quickly rose through the ranks to hold numerous leadership positions in state and local government. He became Assistant Secretary and then Secretary of Personnel under the administration of the late Governor Harry Hughes before working as Deputy Deputy State Comptroller under the late Comptroller Luis L. Goldstein. Mr. Tynes Sr. also served as Director of Personnel for Anne Arundel County Government.
“When people failed their civil service exam, they would look it up in the phone book and call it and just say ‘Hey, can you help me?’ and my dad, every time I asked him to get a private number, he refused. He just liked to help people… Of course he talked to them,” his son said.
Mr. Tynes Sr. has held an executive position on the SECU Board of Directors for 28 years, including nine years as Chairman. He was vice-president for 16 years and secretary for three years. He has also served on the board of trustees of the Credit Union Philanthropic Foundation in Maryland and Washington, DC. As president, he combined his analytical mind with his pursuit of community service by establishing a financial literacy program for high school students.
“He loved doing this job,” his son said. “Another council member said to me, she’s a white woman, she said they used to date and they went to some of these schools downtown. And she said that these young black kids would, they would introduce him as chairman of the board, and their jaws would drop.He liked to be approachable.
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Juancho Baino, Chairman of the Board of SECU MD, described Mr. Tynes Sr. as an anchor for the Board of Directors who was “the ultimate gentleman and professional.” Mr. Tynes Sr. was respected for his advice and humor, qualities that helped families and individuals feel connected to the member-owned credit union.
“Donald was also quick with a smile or a laugh,” Baino said in a statement. “He has always been one to share his dreams, hopes and vision for SECU and how we serve our members and our community.”
After decades of public service, Mr. Tynes Sr. retired from his position as Director of Human Resources for the University System of Maryland in 2006 to care for his wife when her health declined. She died in 2007. Mr. Tynes Sr., a strong proponent of the importance of education, became very active on the Morgan State University campus in retirement, particularly with the alumni association and the student choir. He often recruited students and helped them get their first job in the state, his son said.
In addition to the $2,000 SECU MD Foundation Scholarship for Business Students, Mr. Tynes Sr. donated $1,000 annually to the Carter School of Music at Morgan State before establishing a scholarship for music in his name in 2017 to continue supporting students.
Mr. Tynes Sr. was a life member of Waters AME Church in Baltimore, where he sang in the choir. He enjoyed fishing and chartered boats on the Chesapeake Bay. He and his wife Carolyn loved to travel the world and frequented Europe and the Caribbean.
The funeral was held March 30 at Vaughn C. Greene Funeral Home at 8728 Liberty Road in Randallstown.
In addition to his son, Mr. Tynes Sr. is survived by his sister Shirley E. Thomas, of Baltimore; grandson Matthew Donald Tynes and a host of family members, colleagues and close friends. A daughter, Donna Elise, died in 2019.