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Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI)

The Passing of Francis L. McKone ’63

From the President's Desk

To: The Rensselaer Community
Re: The Passing of Francis L. McKone ’63

It is with great sadness that I write to inform you of the passing of Mr. Francis L. McKone, Class of 1963, on September 13. He was 85. Mr. McKone was the former President, Chief Executive Officer, and Chairman of the Board of Albany International Corp., the world’s largest producer of paper machine clothing and high-performance industrial products. He joined the company in 1964, retired in 2001, and remained on their Board until 2006.

Mr. McKone served his country as an officer in the United States Navy after graduating from Lowell Technical Institute, now University of Massachusetts, Lowell, in 1956. After his honorable discharge from the military, he began his career in the paper industry. He received his M.S. in Management Engineering from Rensselaer in 1963, and served as a member of the Rensselaer Board of Trustees for many years. Upon his death, he was a Trustee Emeritus. He was a member of the Stephen Van Rensselaer Society of Patroons.

In 2001, Mr. McKone received the Rensselaer Alumni Association Alumni Key Award, and in 2013 he was a recipient of the Albert Fox Demers Award, which recognizes substantial contributions to the welfare of the Institute.  

Mr. McKone served as Director of Albany International Corp., Kadant Inc., Albank Financial Corp., Thermo-Fibergen, and Thermo-Fibertek, and was a founding member of the Engineering Advisory Board of Francis College of Engineering of U MASS Lowell. He served on the Board of Trustees of Assumption College, the Institute of Paper and Science Technology in Atlanta, North Carolina State University, and on the Advisory Board of the College of Saint Rose School of Business. For many years, he lectured at the Darden Business School of the University of Virginia and Northeastern University in Boston. 

Mr. McKone is survived by his wife, Tonita, and his daughters, Maura McKone, her husband, Dr. Joseph Rodgers; Elizabeth McKone; and Kathleen McKone-Sweet and her husband, Rev. Mark McKone-Sweet; stepchildren Susan Neeley and her husband, Brian; James Nagle and his wife, Susan; Christopher Nagle and his wife, Jane, as well as many grandchildren.

A celebration of his life will be held on October 5, 2019, at The Church of the Nativity in Rancho Santa Fe, California, and a memorial service and burial will be held at a later date in Lowell, Massachusetts.

For those who wish to honor Mr. McKone, donations may be made in his name to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Gift Processing Center, The Francis McKone Endowed Scholarship, P.O. Box 3164, Boston, MA 02241-3164.

Our deepest thoughts are with the family of Mr. Francis McKone, and we honor the contributions he made to both the Rensselaer community and to the world.