Obituaries

Jack Hynes, dean of Boston TV news, dies at 88

Jack Hynes held court with former Channel 56 colleages in December 2006. Hynes also worked for an extended period at Channel 5.
Globe Staff/File
Jack Hynes held court with former Channel 56 colleages in December 2006. Hynes also worked for an extended period at Channel 5.

Jack Hynes, who was known as the dean of Boston TV news during his decades-long career as an anchorman, died Tuesday in the Linden Ponds retirement community in Hingham. He was 88.

He spent about 50 years as a TV news reporter and anchorman in Boston without developing much fondness for the spotlight and its inevitable trappings.

“I do run away from the celebrity status,” he told the Globe in 1984. “It never attracted me at all. I don’t get a kick out of being recognized on the street or in restaurants. I’m an unglamorous guy in a glamorous business.”

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From 1957 until 2006, Hynes was on the air on WHDH-TV, WCVB-TV, and Channel 56. To his news broadcasts he brought a gravitas and dignity that drew comparisons to the best in the business, and to iconic Boston figures.

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“Jack Hynes to me is Walter Cronkite, if you will,” Gerald Walsh, then president and general manager of Channel 56, said when he hired Hynes in 1984.

“Jack Hynes to Boston is Ted Williams. He’s Bobby Orr. He’s Bill Russell. He’s Red Auerbach. He’s an identity.”

John Bernard Hynes Jr. grew up in Dorchester, the oldest son of John B. Hynes, who was mayor of Boston from 1950 to 1960, and the former Marion Barry.

Hynes graduated from Boston College High School and the University of Notre Dame, and also served three years in the Marine Corps.

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His late wife, the former Marie Kelly, had been the Breck Girl in Breck hair product advertisements. She died in 1998 in their Chatham home.

Hynes leaves two sons, John III of Boston and Barry of Beverly; two daughters, Kelly Hynes McDermott of Medfield and Shauna Hynes-Baler of Yarmouthport; a sister, Marie Hynes Gallagher of Falmouth; two brothers, Barry of South Boston and Richard of Brookline; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

Services will be announced.

Though known as a gifted and witty storyteller, Hynes generally avoided injecting humor into his news broadcasts, even as on-set banter became a staple at many stations.

“Most of the stories you do don’t lend themselves to levity,” he explained in the 1984 interview.

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“When I first started in television, one of the criticisms was that I looked too young. So I developed this mien of serious stuff to make myself look older, more mature. It became a habit. It’s still there,” he said, before adding with a laugh: “The youth went but the seriousness didn’t.”

Editor’s note: A full obituary will appear later.

Hynes at a 2010 event honoring one of his former colleagues, John Henning.
Bill Brett for The Boston Globe/File
Hynes at a 2010 event honoring one of his former colleagues, John Henning.

Bryan Marquard can be reached at bryan.marquard@globe.com.