Peter Christopher, CEO of the St George and Sutherland Medical Research Foundation and former publisher of the Leader, pays tribute to Michael Tynan, who has died at 80.
Michael Tynan was an entrepreneur, businessman, philanthropist, influencer and above all a family man.
He was the prototype shire man — self-made, hard working, no airs and graces, humble but respected. No pushover.
Whether through the car industry or politics, Michael’s presence in a room could often be a ‘‘show-stopper’’.
Michael was the type of person who walked into a room and people wanted to gravitate to him.
I saw it happen many times – he and his wife Annette would attend an event and very soon they were surrounded.
I suspect that a serious history of Sutherland Shire would actually be a biography of Michael Tynan.
Interestingly, he refused all offers from family and authors to have a book written on him.
Michael’s successful life and career ran parallel with the rise of the shire as one of the few nationally identified regions of Australia.
He grew from a small businessman to big business through an unrelenting work ethic –a characteristic that defines the ‘‘new money’’ Sutherland Shire.
His prosperity was also the shire’s.
But, the unique aspect of Michael’s life is that he didn’t ‘‘retreat’’ from public life as many others do as their business’s grow.
Rather, he gave back. He embraced public life, whether as a councillor, an active church member, a Liberal Party mover and shaker, an NRMA board member, a Calvary Hospital board member, the Motor Traders Association or a St George & Sutherland Medical Research Foundation supporter.
And through it all, he wore humility as his badge of honour.
Michael had this disarming way of taking the limelight away from himself.
Giving him a compliment resulted in a hoarse laugh, then deflection to another topic.
Michael told me once that he had good luck in his life. I don’t think luck had anything to do with it at all.
At a time when he was entitled to sit back, relax and reflect on his successes, he was still extremely busy.
It was only recently that he was travelling regularly to Asia on business; checking out the latest on the car industry or sealing deals.
And, remarkably, it didn’t matter where he was, Michael always made time to return calls – from anywhere in the world.”
Michael inculcated a love of community in his business and family. It’s part of the Tynan DNA because Michael insisted on it.
Michael’s impact on politics in the shire cannot be overstated. While he would deny being a king maker, few decisions were made in the Liberal Party without reference to him. He saw the party as the small business party and therefore a natural fit with his own experience of life.
But, for all his public presence, there was one private priority - his family.
He delighted in talking about his family and their successes. For outsiders it was fascinating to see the Tynans in full flight, whether they were Tynans by birth or had married into it.
The Tynan family name is now a national brand or trademark.
But, to all people who knew Michael, his closing two words at the end of a conversation – ‘‘God Bless’’ – will always be his trademark.
So it’s fitting to say now in return: God Bless, Michael Tynan.
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