Walter James Hynes, 87: Leader in the defense industry
TOPSHAM — Walter James Hynes Jr., 87, of Topsham, died March 14 with his family by his side, following a battle with Parkinson's Disease.
Hynes was born Nov. 1, 1925, in Darien, Conn., to Paula Alvine Yunkes and Walter James Hynes Sr.
Hynes enlisted during World War II at age 17 and was assigned to the 8th Army Air Corps. He was stationed in Greensboro, N.C., when Greensboro College sophomore Evelyn Wood passed him on the street and he asked her out on a date. They were engaged on their second date and eloped in 1946. During their 67 years of marriage Hynes would often say, “The smartest thing I ever did was marry your mother.” His family heartily agreed.
After graduating from East Carolina University, Hynes took a job in southern California in the defense industry. For the next 40 years he was at the forefront of missile system and integrated combat system design; his ground-breaking projects are displayed at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Highlights of his career include: the Missile Defense System; guidance systems for the Gemini and Apollo space programs, and the first Arleigh Burke class destroyer. He worked for General Electric, Bath Iron Works, and Litton Industries where he was appointed vice president in charge of shipbuilding for his role in the DDG51. He was president of several subsidiary companies but insisted that his real title was "engineer." He completed his professional tenure with Raytheon, reluctantly retiring at the mandatory age of 70.
His recreation was as vigorous as his work. He was a member of the Appalachian Mountain Club 4,000 Footer Club. Hynes led the family in sailing, canoeing, and camping. In 1972, he and his wife bought a 350-acre dairy farm in Windsor. His wife and son ran the dairy farm and added sheep, pigs and horses. This provided him with nonstop projects on weekends.
A member of the Concord Aero-Guidance Society, Hynes was an avid radio control airplane builder, flyer, crasher, and restorer. There was always a chainsaw in his car to cut down the offending tree that captured his planes.
Hynes was predeceased by his grandson, David. He is survived by his wife, Lyn; his three children, Beverly, Nancy and her husband, Daniel, James III and his wife, Lisa; and four grandchildren, Matthew, Katharine, Evelyn, and James. Burial will take place Saturday at the family plot in Wilson, N.C.