The Hyne Family Fund provides scholarships for medical students and engineering students entering their second or higher year of engineering. Gilbert James Hyne and his wife Laura were members of St. Charles Avenue Presbyterian Church in New Orleans from 1946 to 1954, when they transferred to Oak Park Presbyterian Church, located then in New Orleans’ Lakeview area.
Mr. Hyne was born in Dundee, Scotland, March 16, 1899. He was one of three children born to James Hyne, a foreman engineer, and his wife Jessie, a seamstress. Following his father’s line of work, young Gilbert became an apprentice at a very early age and advanced to become a journeyman engineer. He was persuaded by a family friend that opportunities for advancement were still greater in the United States. He subsequently obtained a passport, followed the route of the immigrant, and arrived in New Orleans where he was hosted by a local family. He became a citizen in March 1927 and later was married to Laura Engert.
His first appointment was as a Junior Engineer on the SS Heridea and he continued to be employed in positions at sea, rising in rank until he became Chief Engineer on the SS Eppingham in January 1942. In that year, while convoying ships, Gilbert twice suffered shipwreck injuries resulting in frostbite to his hands and feet. Although not serious at the time, those injuries would handicap him later in life. On June 19, 1943, he was appointed Lt. Commander in the U.S. Coast Guard Reserve and served until April 1957, with the last six years as a Marine Surveyor.
After his wife’s death in 1963, Gilbert considered returning permanently to Scotland; however, he found the weather inimical to his wartime wounds and he returned to New Orleans. Another contemplated change that did not materialize was to remarry. The lady was a medical doctor, very well settled in her practice in Connecticut and not inclined to leave it. She did remain a life-long friend of the family – a clue perhaps as to why Gilbert favored the two categories of applicants: engineers and medical doctors.
Gilbert died of lung cancer in New Orleans on April 1, 1973 and is buried in the Greenwood Cemetery. His will, dated April 14, 1965, stated that the couple left no descendants and that he wished to leave their estate to the Oak Park Presbyterian Church for educational purposes. Further, he stated that in the event the Church could not or would not accept the legacy, the Presbyterian Foundation of Louisiana was his choice as alternate Trustee. The church, through action of the Session, September 5, 1974, and subsequent legal procedures, declined to receive and administer the funds, renouncing all claim. By the end of December 1974, the PFL became the Trustee of the Hyne Fund.