Richard Thomas McKernan
October 1, 1937 to May 3, 2019
It is with great sadness that the family of Richard Thomas McKernan announces his passing on May 3, 2019. He was surrounded by his family in the comfort of his home in Wolfeboro, N.H.
He was born Oct. 1, 1937, in Harrisburg, and a native of Williamsport. Dick attended Pennsylvania State University and the University of Connecticut, where he received a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering and a master’s of science degree in electrical engineering, respectively.
His business and charitable endeavors were successful and always self-attributed to blind luck and infectious hard work. Dick’s early career was with the Norden Systems division of United Technologies in Norwalk, Conn., where he designed the avionics for military jets. Following a career at Norden, his entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and he joined a start-up called Canberra Industries in Meriden Conn. Dick spent the remainder of his career with Canberra, and its subsidiary operation, Packard Bioscience Company. His tireless work ethic resulted in a career that encompassed numerous operating roles, including senior vice-president and director of Packard BioScience Company and the president of Packard Instrument Company. Over the course of his 30 plus years working at Canberra/Packard, Dick and his colleagues commercialized numerous leading-edge technologies that positively impacted the biotechnology and life sciences market place.
For 81 years, Dick perfected the art of dry humor, risky start-ups, Irish golf and endurance reading. He had a curious mind and he was an avid reader of history, science, music, poetry, medicine and game theory. Whether he was teaching his young children to play bridge, or spending time dissecting the intricacies of an algebra equation for a son’s math homework, Dick was happiest being with his family and friends at Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro, N.H., or in Vero Beach, Fla. where he and Jinny spent their winters. He was an honorable man who lived his life with a spirit of gratitude, generosity, kindness and humility. Above all he was a gentleman.
Dick served his country in the U.S. Air Force. He served on the boards of numerous organizations, including chairman of Mooreland Hill School, New Britain General Hospital, the Analytical Life Sciences Systems Association, Packard Bioscience Corporation and Canberra Industries, Agencourt Biosciences Corporation, Agencourt Personal Genomics, Courtagen Life Sciences, Medicinal Genomics Corporation and Connecticut United for Research Excellence.
He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Jinny (Judd) McKernan, and their four children, R. Brian McKernan and wife Kelly, of Boston Mass.; Dr. Melissa McKernan-Pulliam and husband, Dr. R. Ward Pulliam, of Lancaster, Pa.; Brendan McKernan and wife KyAnn, of Marblehead, Mass.; and Kevin McKernan and wife Becky, of Marblehead, Mass.; and six grandchildren, Connor, Aidan, Caleb, Elsa, Declan McKernan and Kaelynn Grace Pulliam; a brother, Robert McKernan, of Williamsport; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Anna Lynch McKernan and F. Donald McKernan, sisters, Ann Claire Paris and Regina Crouse, and brother, F. Donald McKernan.
Dick was a longtime member of The Shuttle Meadow Club in Kensington, Conn. At the time of his death he was a member of Bald Peak Colony Club in Melvin Village, N.H., The Riomar Country Club, The Moorings Yacht and Country Club and the Quail Valley Club in Vero Beach, Fla.
A Mass in celebration of Dick’s life will be held on Saturday, Aug. 17, at 10 a.m., at the St. Katharine Drexel Catholic Church, 40 Hidden Springs Road, Alton, N.H., with Rev. Robert Cole officiating. A reception will follow.
Memorial donations in memory of Dick can be made to Stand Up To Cancer at www.standuptocancer.org, Project CBD at www.projectcbd.org, Lakes Region Conservation Trust at www.lrct.org, or to a charity of your choice.
If you wish to express a condolence or leave a fond memory please visit www.lordfuneralhome.com.