The death of Kevin Dynan at the considerable age of 91 has brought to a close the well-rounded life of a man widely considered amongst the great Old Paradians of the 20th century.
A final year student of Parade College East Melbourne in the wartime year of 1943, Kevin, it could safely be said, lived to the letter the poet Juvenal’s time-honoured phrase ‘Mens Sana in Corpore Sano’ – ‘A Healthy Mind in a Healthy Body’.
Referencing his biographical listing in the Old Paradians Directory of 1998, Kevin’s cv reads thus:
Notwithstanding his life in academia and his professional calling as an engineer and architect, Kevin for many years indulged his genuine passion for athletics, which included:
Noel Purcell, the College Captain of 1951, recalled meeting his future athletics mentor that very year.
“I can remember seeing a bloke in a suit walking across the yard at East Melbourne at lunchtime. I remember walking over to him and saying ‘Can I help you?’,” Noel said.
“That man was Kevin Dynan, then working as a surveyor for the state government at the back of Spring Street overlooking Treasury Gardens, so it wasn’t far for him to walk to Parade.
“Kevin said to me ‘Yeah, I want to see one of the brothers. I want to coach the athletics team’. That’s where our friendship started and we were close friends from then on.”
Describing the man as “a pretty infectious personality”, Noel noted that Kevin “was alive with ideas”.
“He was only 23 then and I was 17, but he was terrific. He was a driving force at the school for years,” Noel said.
“He was a fine fellow, a motivator and outgoing. The word to describe him best would be ‘enthusiastic’. He was dynamic, highly-intelligent and interested in just about everything.”
Another lifelong friend was the Old Paradian Frank McClements, who first met Kevin in that same year – the year he earned honors as Victorian Schoolboys’ Champion over 880 yards. Frank and Kevin were best men at eachother’s wedding and the former paid his old pal a final visit the day before he died.
Reflecting on a personal bond with Kevin that endured for almost 70 years, Frank recalled that he too was still in his College uniform when their paths first crossed in ’51.
“Kevin came along to the school to look after the athletics team,” Frank said. “Brother Walsh, who taught Year 10 when I was there, somehow got Kevin involved and he suddenly appeared.
“He was himself competing with Collingwood Harriers at that stage because he lived in Clifton Hill and he became my first athletics coach. He was always encouraging and he was particularly attuned to the strengths and weaknesses of individuals. As with most things, Kevin was very studious. He liked to delve into the finer points of matters.
“Kevin was multi-faceted. He had a variety of interests, from classical music to athletics, he had a lot to say and he was always curious. Above all he was generous. He was generous to everyone and everything.”
That Kevin died on the same day Ron Barnett and Michael Renehan were presented with Certificates of Achievement for their contributions to Parade’s Bundoora Campus as members of Rene Stella’s planning team was not lost on his acquaintances, who noted Kevin’s extensive contribution to that cause as Chief Engineer. The idyllic sports fields, most-notably the picket-fenced Garvey Oval flanking Plenty Road, carries Kevin’s thumbprint, as was recorded by Br. Patrick Chanel Naughtin in The Parade Story:
“Through the good graces of the Shire and Municipal Engineers’ Association and the enthusiasm of Old Paradian Kevin Dynan, a series of field days was conducted at the College in February 1970. This resulted in the making of roads, the laying out of ovals and the removal of 16,000 cubic yards of spoiled clay from an excavation for a new lake to the proposed site for the main oval. Lack of funds prevented further immediate work on this oval, but a significant start has been made on what was to become a key development of the future.”
The photograph accompanying this tribute features Kevin on the left with his old College contemporary the late Bill Dunne (1944) and John Wegner (1967) – both inductees to the Old Paradians’ Association Hall of Fame – at an Association Luncheon at Melbourne’s RACV City Club in May 2010.
Ray Hangan (1950), a member of the OPAAC’s Premiership team of 1951/’52 and a luncheon regular, was amongst those to pay tribute.
“Unfortunately we have lost one of the great Old Paradians. In my humble opinion, Kevin’s contributions are right up there . . . and I’ve been around a long time,” Ray said.
“Apart from the fact that Kevin made a massive contribution to athletics, he was actually in charge of the Athletic Association. He was also a major participant in the old boys’ association and he and Bill Dunne had a common passion for both the College and athletics,” Ray said.
“The thing about Kevin was that he was an academic of the first order and he had trouble with trivia. When he was in conversation with people, if it was nothing but time-filling he used to struggle.”
“Though he was of a great age it is a tragedy that he is gone. He was a great man.”
A loving and much-loved husband of Judy, father of John, Jen, Marg, Elizabeth and Frank, father-in-law of Adrian and Belinda, Kevin was, as the family notice read, “A man who made the most of his life and motivated and inspired many”.
Funeral Mass for Kevin Leo Dynan will be offered at Holy Eucharist Catholic Church, 1241 Dandenong Rd, East Malvern on Friday, December 21, 2018 at 11.00 am, with a private cremation to follow.
In lieu of flowers, donations to Alzheimers Australia would be greatly appreciated, with envelopes to be made available at the church.
The following tribute to Kevin has been paid by Bill Reid (1955), the former President of the OPAAC through the 1960s when Kevin served as Vice-President:
I was in Year Ten when Kevin introduced himself during the regular lunch time game in which a group of more than 20 would hurl a tennis ball diagonally across our small playground to another group who would fly for the mark.
Kevin was already the coach of the athletic club and was on the lookout for boys who might have shown some signs of being able to run or jump. Thus began a friendship replicated by dozens, perhaps hundreds, who were members of the club during the years that followed.
He was a fully-qualified coach and indeed was the official field events coach of the 1966 Australian Commonwealth Games team in Kingston, Jamaica.
An engineer by profession, he made many an important contribution to the development of athletics in Australia at a number of levels.
Kevin was the official athletics surveyor for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics. Measuring running tracks was a specialty of Kevin’s and, in 1970, he was asked to mark out the track when the American sprint champion John Carlos raced over 130 yards at Olympic Park. On one occasion he travelled to Europe to Investigate options for the development of an indoor running track for Melbourne. He put forward the idea of an indoor stadium which at the press of a button could be either an athletic track or a cycling velodrome. Unhappily the Victorian Government did not go ahead with the project.
At the club level we decided to try and interest some of the fathers in doing some coaching and Kevin volunteered to manage this project. A competitor himself, Kevin represented the club for many years in inter-club events, doing the discus, hammer and shot put.
At the administrative level he served on the club’s committee for around twenty years, being Vice-President on nine occasions and President from 1958/60 and 1966/67. In 1966 he was manager of the Victorian track and field team for the Australian Championships in Perth. In 1995 he was appointed as President of Athletics Victoria and served in that important post until 1997.
I will have one small link with Kevin. There is only one film of me running, shot by Kevin Dynan one Sunday morning at Flowerdale.