Donald Tynes Sr., SECU’s longest-serving board member with passion for mentoring youth and leading choir, dies

Donald Tynes Sr. was active with Morgan State University’s alumni association and the student choir.

Donald Tynes Sr., a retired state and university personnel employee and the longest-serving board member of Maryland’s State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU), died of cancer March 22 at Sinai Hospital. The Randallstown resident was 79.

Mr. Tynes Sr. joined the board of SECU in 1975 when the credit union managed 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 created a scholarship in his name for students at Morgan State University’s Graves School of Business.


“He always put other people ahead of himself. He really tried to help everybody. He was on a lot of different boards and a lot of different things out in the community. After he retired, it seemed like he got even more active,” said his son Donald Tynes Jr., of San Jose, California.

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 college students. Mr. Tynes Sr. earned a bachelor’s degree in geography at Morgan State University in 1965 and went on to earn an executive master’s degree in business administration at Loyola College of Maryland in 1978. He married Carolyn Barnes in 1964 and the pair raised their son, Mr. Tynes Jr., and daughter, the late Donna Elise Tynes, in Randallstown.

After graduating from Loyola, Mr. Tynes started working as a corporate dealer liaison at the General Motors Broening Highway Assembly Plant, formerly known as the Chevrolet Fisher Body Assembly Plant. He began a long career in human relations when he started working in the compensation division of the state department of personnel.

Mr. Tynes Sr. rose quickly through the ranks to hold numerous leadership positions within state and local government. He became deputy secretary and then secretary of personnel under the late Gov. Harry Hughes’ administration before working as assistant 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 examination, they would look him up in the phonebook and call him and just say ‘Hey, can you help me?’ and my father, every time I asked him to get an unlisted number, he declined. He just loved helping people ... Sure enough he would talk to them,” his son said.

Mr. Tynes Sr. held an officer position on the SECU Board of Directors for 28 years, including nine years as chairman. He served as vice chair for 16 years and secretary for three years. He also was on the board of directors for the credit union’s philanthropic foundation in Maryland and Washington, D.C. As chairman, he paired his analytical mind with his pursuit of community service by establishing a financial literacy program for high school students.

“He loved doing that work,” his son said. “Another board member told me, she’s a white female, she said they used to go out together and would go to some of these inner-city schools. And she said these young Black kids would, they would introduce him as the chairman of the board, and their jaws would drop. He loved being accessible.”

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Juancho Baino, chair of the SECU MD Board of Directors, 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 guidance and his humor, attributes 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 was always one to share his dreams, hopes and vision for SECU and how we serve our members and our community.”


After decades of state service, Mr. Tynes Sr. retired from his role as the director of human resources for the University System of Maryland in 2006 to take care of his wife when her health declined. She died in 2007. Mr. Tynes Sr., an ardent believer in the importance of education, became very active on Morgan State University’s campus in retirement, especially with the alumni association and the student choir. He often recruited students and helped them get their first job with the state, his son said.

In addition to SECU MD Foundation’s $2,000 scholarship for business students, Mr. Tynes Sr. donated $1,000 annually to Morgan State’s Carter School of Music before creating a music scholarship in his name in 2017 to continue to support students.

Mr. Tynes Sr. was a lifelong member of Waters A.M.E Church in Baltimore, where he sang in the choir. He loved to fish and would charter boats on the Chesapeake Bay. He and his wife Carolyn enjoyed traveling around the world and frequented Europe and the Caribbean.

Funeral services were 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, colleagues, and close friends. A daughter, Donna Elise, died in 2019.