'A great family man': Tributes to retired teacher and sportsman

Gwynne Mack died aged 78 on the evening of Thursday, November 25

Gwynne Mack died aged 78 on the evening of Thursday, November 25 - Credit: Gwynne Mack family

Tributes have been paid to Gwynne Mack, a retired teacher described by his sons as a “great family man”. 

Born in Merthyr Tydfil in South Wales on March 25, 1943, Gwynne moved to east London in the mid-60s to pursue a career in education and lived in east London and Essex for the rest of his life. 

From 1964 to 1997, he taught at Geography Harrowfield Boys School in Harold Hill, Gaynes School in Upminster, Eastbrook School in Dagenham and St Clere’s School in Stanford-le-Hope, where he was deputy headteacher. 

His son Steve, 44, said his father was remembered by students and colleagues alike as a man who was “committed to education, not a journeyman teacher”. 

Gwynne and Jackie married in April 1970.

Gwynne and Jackie married in April 1970. - Credit: Gwynne Mack family

It was through a fellow teacher that he was introduced in 1969 to Jackie, who he married the following year.

The pair had four sons – Bobby, Dave, Jeff and Steve – in the next seven years. 

Gwynne was a life-long sportsman who played scrum-half for Gidea Park and Romford Rugby Club from the mid-60s and later formed the Phyllosan’s Rugby Club for men over 40. 

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His sons remember being taken as children to watch him play and say he instilled a similar love of sport in them. 

Gwynne's sons recall being taken as boys to watch their father play rugby.

Gwynne's sons recall being taken as boys to watch their father play rugby. - Credit: Gwynne Mack family

He was not pushy about getting them involved in particular sports, said 46-year-old Jeff: “Whatever we wanted to do, he would come along and support us." 

Jeff recalled how their garden in Cranham would become “either a football pitch, a rugby pitch, an athletics pitch or a cricket field in the summer”. 

A keen cricketer, Gwynne played with Hornchurch Cricket Club before joining Upminster's version in the 1980s, where he served in a number of committee roles over several decades.  

Gwynne played for Upminster Cricket Club into his late 60s.

Gwynne played for Upminster Cricket Club into his late 60s. - Credit: Gwynne Mack family

After retiring, he travelled the world with Jackie, and his favourite destination was South Africa. 

Jeff described Gwynne as a “disciplined man” without being “a disciplinarian”, and remembered his “devilish sense of humour”. 

Steve said his father had been “able to strike the perfect balance of being great fun, a sage guide and also letting you know when you were off track”. 

His eldest son, 50-year-old Bobby Mack, said: “If ever you wanted a dad, he would be the one.” 

Gwynne Mack died on the evening of Thursday, November 25. 

He is survived by his wife Jackie Mack, his sons Bobby, Dave, Jeff and Steve, and his five grandchildren Nathan, Mikalina, Matejas, Ruby and Ethan.