Tyger: The ultimate professional and a really nice guy
by Irwin Stoolmacher
Published in The Times of Trenton,
Sunday, August 3, 1997
On June 26, 1997, Frank Tyger retired from The
Times after 30 years. Frank 's nominal title was promotion manager, but to the nonprofit
community, Frank was ''Mr. Times.''
Frank was the guy you'd see at The Times booth on Heritage Day and most other community
civic gatherings in Mercer County. He was ubiquitous on Mercer's nonprofit ''rubber
chicken'' circuit, and he was the guy you'd call or go to see if you wanted to place a
public service announcement in The Times. Times readers know Frank from his Monday column
on Page 2, in which he would, in his caring style, highlight various upcoming nonprofit
events or note volunteer or other needs of the nonprofit agencies.
The business community got to know Frank from his short, concise quotations that
appeared for many years in Mercer Business. Many of these, and other Tygerisms, appeared
in such leading publications over the years as Readers Digest, the Saturday Evening Post
and, locally, Mercer Magazine.
I KNOW FRANK as a friend, someone whose company I enjoy and whom I respect a great deal.
Frank and I, and Times Senior Editor Arnie Ropeik, Frank 's best friend, frequently would
do lunch at a group of area restaurants that were on Frank 's approved list. They were all
places that served basic, wholesome food. Nothing fancy, just a good hearty cup of soup
and basic salami sandwich and maybe some red Jello with whipped cream. Frank 's favorite
foods are very much a reflection of his basic personality.
Frank is a no-frills kind of guy, although every once in a while I'd tease him about a
particularly sharp tie he was wearing. He isn't about to go out and spend $50-plus for a
special silk tie, or drive a fancy car, or drink an expensive bottle of wine. A good play
or movie, and dinner at the Golden Dawn restaurant are a ''perfect evening'' for Frank,
and it's even better if his favorite nephew, Michael, and bride-to-be, Lori, are
So far, while I've described some unique aspects of Frank Tyger , I've really not
explained why I admire Frank and am really proud to call him a friend. I got to know Frank
well from working very closely with him over the last six years on the annual Times
Charities Christmas Appeal. Once the recipient had been selected, Frank and I would agree
on the sequence of stories and the campaign themes.
I'D WORK CLOSELY with Frank on making sure that the story that appeared each day
was accurate. I'd check the story and make a few corrections and then Frank would go back
and find all the many errors that I had missed and fix them. Frank was solely responsible
for seeing that each of the contributions that came in to the appeal were properly
acknowledged in the newspaper - 3,500 contributions in our six years.
Frank would check, re-check and check again to make sure that each and every name appeared
correctly. When he couldn't read a particular donor's handwriting he'd call the donor, not
once but as many times as necessary to get it right. The same went for the names of
individuals beneath pictures, for each and every comma, semicolon, and even the proper
alphabetical sequence of a series. Frank was absolutely dogged when it came to making sure
information that appeared in The Times was correct.
Simply put, he is the most meticulous, detail-conscious human being I have ever met. In a
time when pride in one's work is a remnant of a bygone era, Frank Tyger 's dedication to
his job and profession was truly extraordinary.
PERHAPS THE quality about Frank Tyger that I most admire is his integrity. Two years ago,
Mercer Street Friends Food Cooperative was the recipient of the Times Charities Christmas
Appeal. Frank, in the course of the appeal, got to know my wife Phyllis, who is manager of
the food cooperative. One day, I told Frank that we'd love to have him over for dinner.
Frank courteously but assertively declared that it wouldn't be a good idea ''now.'' Some
might say that Frank was being a little too cautious - too willing to draw lines in the
sand - but at a time when integrity is all too often lacking, it's absolutely refreshing
to know that there are people out there who are above reproach and totally committed to
doing the right thing, even if that means perhaps possibly saying no to a friend.
I genuinely respect Frank Tyger for his intellect, his wide knowledge of local,
state and national events, his strong sense of personal integrity and his tremendous
dedication to his family.
BUT MOSTLY, I salute his unabiding loyalty to his job and his employer. Frank Tyger was
deeply committed to giving his employer a day's work for a day's pay. That meant if there
was a job that had to get done, he'd stay late and come on Saturday or Sunday if that was
Who among us these days has that kind of commitment to anything?
Have a good retirement, Mr. Times, and Phyllis and I hope that you'll have dinner at our
home sometime soon.