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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

The Passing of Edward E. Hood Jr.

From the President's Desk

To: The Rensselaer Community
Re: The Passing of Edward E. Hood Jr.

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Edward E. Hood Jr., trustee emeritus of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Board of Trustees, on Feb. 3, 2019. He was 88.

Mr. Hood received his undergraduate and master’s degrees in nuclear engineering from North Carolina State University and served three years with the U.S. Air Force.

He joined GE in 1957 as a design engineer. In 1962, he was selected to head GE’s Supersonic Transport Project. He was named General Manager of GE’s Commercial Engine Division and elected a Vice President of the company in 1968. In 1972, Mr. Hood was promoted to Vice President and Group Executive of GE’s International Group. The following year he was named Vice President and Group Executive of the Power Generation Group, a position he held until late 1977, when he was promoted to Senior Vice President and Sector Executive of the Technical Systems and Materials Sector. He was elected Vice Chairman of GE’s board of directors in 1979, a position he held until retirement in 1993.

Mr. Hood’s dedication to GE’s gas turbine activities and his knowledge and reputation led to his being named Chairman of the Aerospace Industries Association Board of Governors. He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering, served as the Vice Chairman of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, and was an Associate Fellow in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

A member of the Stephen Van Rensselaer Society of Patroons of Rensselaer, Mr. Hood was elected to membership on the Rensselaer Board in 1980, and served as chairman from May 1985 until retirement from the Board in December 1995. At that time he was named chairman emeritus. The Rensselaer Alumni Association named him “A Friend of Rensselaer” in June 1995.

Mr. Hood served as a director on multiple boards over the years, including Lockheed Martin Corporation, Gerber Scientific Inc., Lincoln Electric Company, Martin Marietta Corporation, and Flight Safety International. 

Mr. Hood’s lifelong belief in, and appreciation for, the importance of higher education were reflected in his philanthropy and volunteerism. In addition to serving on the Rensselaer Board, he served on the Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees (1995-2003) at his alma mater, North Carolina State, and beginning in 1995, he served multiple terms on the Board of Trustees at Lees-McRae College. He and his wife, Kay, established endowed scholarships at all three schools, helping hundreds of students to pursue higher education and to achieve personal and professional success.

Mr. Hood is survived by his wife, Kay Transou Hood; his two daughters and their husbands, Lisa Bezzeg (Robert) and Molly O’Brien Watkins (David); three grandchildren; his sister and her husband, Nancy Taylor (Ralph); three step-grandchildren; and 11 nieces and nephews. 

A celebration of his life will be held this spring at North Carolina State in Raleigh, North Carolina. Memorial donations may be made to Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, Florida, or to the Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville, North Carolina. 

Our deepest thoughts are with the family of Edward Hood Jr. Please join me in taking a moment to reflect on the contributions he made to our university and to our world.