Thomas M. Hyndman Jr., Philadelphia lawyer and volunteer, dies at 96
Mr. Hyndman interrupted his college education to serve as a navigator on a bomber in World War II based in Foggia, Italy. He had a narrow escape, bailing out of a plummeting aircraft.
Thomas M. Hyndman Jr., 96, of Lafayette Hill, a Philadelphia lawyer for four decades, died Wednesday, Dec. 2, of complications from prostate cancer at the Hill at Whitemarsh, a senior community.
Born in Philadelphia, Mr. Hyndman graduated from Germantown Academy in 1942. He never lost touch with the school, serving as a member of its board of trustees for many years.
He enrolled at Williams College but interrupted his education to enlist and serve as a navigator with the 15th Army Air Force from 1943 to 1945, according to an article in the Stars and Stripes. His unit was based in Foggia, Italy.
At one point, he and eight crew members bailed out of a bomber that had been hit by gunfire over Italy and was flying on just one engine, according to the military paper. “Gasoline was all over the place. The fumes were terrible,” the paper wrote. “The plane began to lose altitude. Everyone threw things out.”
Mr. Hyndman made sure the aircraft was over Allied territory before directing the crew to parachute out. He was the last to jump at the perilously low height of 800 feet, the paper wrote. The pilot rode the aircraft to a soft landing in the mountains. No one was hurt. Later, Mr. Hyndman was honorably discharged as a first lieutenant.
He never talked about his war experiences, his family said.
After the war, he graduated from Williams College in 1946 and earned a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 1950. He clerked for Chief Justice Horace Stern of the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1950 and 1951.
Mr. Hyndman practiced law with Duane, Morris & Heckscher, now Duane Morris LLP, starting as an associate in 1951. His specialty was business and corporate law. He made partner in 1957, was the firm’s managing partner from 1979 to 1989, and became of counsel in 1993 before retiring earlier this year.
Mr. Hyndman belonged to the Union League of Philadelphia. He was a trustee for the Blind Relief Fund of Philadelphia, the Presser Foundation, and the Visiting Nurse Association Community Services
From 1976 to 1978, he served as president of the Williams College Alumni Society.
He was on the board of directors of Penn Engineering Corp. from 1974 to 2003 and the Rochester & Pittsburgh Coal from 1980 to 1996. He also served on the board of the Hill at Whitemarsh, his final residence.
Mr. Hyndman married Mary deCoursey in 1948. They met through mutual friends while in college. They had five children and raised them in Chestnut Hill.
Avid golfers, the Hyndmans belonged to the Philadelphia Cricket Club, Sunnybrook Golf Club, and the Taconic Golf Club in Williamstown, Mass. They also enjoyed sailing.
Mr. Hyndman was commodore of the Brant Beach Yacht Club in 1967. Brant Beach is on Long Beach Island. They shared their love of golf, skiing, and sailing with family and friends throughout their lives.
The Hyndmans were dedicated gardeners and volunteered in many capacities with the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society.
Mr. Hyndman was an usher at St. Thomas Church in Fort Washington.
His wife died in 2012. He is survived by children Patricia Doggett, Thomas, Susan Costello, Stephen, and Peter; 12 grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and Suzanne Castle, his companion of seven years.
There will be a celebration of his life at St. Thomas Church once the coronavirus pandemic ebbs.
Memorial donations may be made to the Visiting Nurse Association Community Services of Montgomery County, 1421 Highland Ave., Abington, Pa. or via www.VNACS.org.