Sometimes a story begins with one idea and ends with another. First, I read about the closing of Hazel Park Raceway after 69 years of operation and thought maybe I’d see what I could find in the Davidson Archives and write about that. Then, JN Publisher and Detroit Jewish News Foundation President Arthur Horwitz tells me: “I think Herb Tyner was one of the owners of Hazel Park.” So, now, I’m writing about a Jewish guy, who just happened to have a connection to the track.
The archives did not have much about Hazel Park itself. There were several items about events at Hazel Park, such as the Single Extension Group from Temple Israel or Harmony ORT having a “Night at the Races” in the 1990s or the Alpha Zeta Omega Pharmaceutical Fraternity raising money for scholarships at the track in 1975, but there were no stories about Hazel Park itself.
However, I learned a lot about co-owner Herb Tyner. Sort of a classic self-made person; as a youth, Tyner sold newspapers and shoveled snow and did whatever he could to make a buck. A bright student, he graduated from Detroit Central High School at age 16, and then earned undergraduate and graduate degrees from Ohio State. Tyner then parlayed his education and experience into becoming a very successful Jewish businessman in Detroit.
Along the way, he was co-owner with Bernard Harman of Hazel Park Raceway for 62 years and formed a leading property management firm, Hartman & Tyner. And he was one of the owners of the Detroit Pistons with William Davidson in 1974.
Tyner and his wife, Suzanne, were also great community leaders, providing funding for such causes as the Jean and David Tyner Religious School at Temple Israel, named in memory of Herb’s parents, and the Suzanne and Herbert Tyner Center for Cardiovascular Intervention at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. Herb Tyner died in 2015.
Want to learn more? Go to the DJN Foundation archives, available for free at www.djnfoundation.org.