Eight Bells: John Tinker

Published on January 7th, 2020

John Tinker, 93, a significant contributor to World Sailing (IYRU/ISAF), died December 18, 2019, in Toronto, ON.

John (above, right) began his journey in Detroit, MI in 1926. When he lost his father early in the Great Depression he and his mother Lila moved to Owen Sound, ON. It was here that John truly found a home and developed many of the interests that he enjoyed throughout his life; sailing, tennis, skiing and an inquisitive love of history, politics, and people.

John studied political science/economics and then law at The University of Toronto with a break in-between to serve in the US Army, stationed in Japan, during the occupation. After law school he joined Blake, Cassels and Graydon, where he founded the tax group. John’s extensive tax knowledge provided a welcome contribution to the Royal Commission on Taxation (Carter Commission).

His interest in sailing started in 1961 with the Albacore dinghy which he started to race. He joined the class Executive and became Class Secretary, supporting the class’ expansion into one of Canada’s most popular dinghies.

Work in the class sparked interest in the Provincial Sailing Association in Ontario which led to a number of years work on the Class Council and in the Portsmouth Yardstick Handicap System.

He moved to the National level becoming first Secretary on the National Executive of the Canadian Yachting Association and the Vice-President – Administration, finally serving as President in 1981-82.

Former President Paul Henderson invited John to become a Committee member of the IYRU and he became a member of the Constitution Committee under Harry Anderson in 1978. In 1990, he became Chairman and held the role through to 2000.

His work also extended to the ISAF Review Board and held a position from 2001 to 2012, acting as Chairman from 2001 to 2004.

John received an ISAF Gold Medal in 2000 and was awarded the prestigious Beppe Croce Trophy in 2003 for his outstanding voluntary contribution to the sport.

John was predeceased by his wife, Ellen (nee Fleming) and is survived by his son, John (Barb) and his daughter, Liz. He was a loving “Nampa” to his grandchildren Adam (Nicole), Heather and Jamie. He also enjoyed his great grandson, Bennett.

Source: World Sailing, Legacy.com

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