JAMES W. MCKEE

Obituary
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McKEE--James W. James W. McKee Jr. passed away February 27, 2013 in Naples, FL, after a brief illness. The son of James W. and Isabel McKee, he was born in Pittsburgh, August 19, 1922. Business relocation took the family to Montreal in 1934, where Jim graduated with distinction, first from Lower Canada College, and then from McGill University. During World War II he was a pilot who served initially as an instructor, before being assigned as a command pilot to the 9th Air Force in England and in France. In 1946 Jim joined Corn Products Refining Company (name changed to CPC International in 1969), a diversified food manufacturer of well known trademarks including Mazola, Hellmann's (mayonnaise), Thomas's (English Muffins), Skippy (peanut butter), and Knorr (soups and sauces), as well as the world's leading corn wet milling company. He spent his first 17 years with CPC on international assignments, primarily in Italy, Brazil and Cuba. In 1969, five years after relocating back to the United States he was appointed company president, followed by the appointment to CEO in 1972, the youngest CEO in the company's history. During his tenure as president and CEO, and until he retired in 1984, the company's sales quadrupled to exceed $4.3 billion and earnings growth compounded at just under 9% per year. In addition to CPC International, Jim served on a number of corporate boards of directors, including Marine Midland Bank, Melville Corporation, CVS, and Singer. He was president of the Conference Board; a member of the Council on Foreign Affairs; head of the Grocery Manufacturer's Association; and head of the American Chamber of Commerce in Brazil in the early 1960's. He served as a trustee for several organizations, including St. Vincents Hospital, The College of New Rochelle, and the Committee for Economic Development, among others. The government of Brazil honored him twice with the country's highest civilian award, the Cruzeiro Do Sul medals for his contributions to Brazil's economy and to Brazilian/American relations. He also received honorary citations from the Geographic Society of Brazil, and the Union Cultural, among others for outstanding contributions. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. John's University for his academic and professional contributions in the field of economics, in particular, operating in inflationary environments. In retirement, Jim researched the McKee family genealogy, and self published the results in 2002: The Descendents of William and Mary Wilson McKee. Among his hobbies were his golf game (three holes-in-one), his computer, visiting hardware stores, reading books and newspapers, and managing investments. Jim is survived by his beloved wife of 65 years, Jayne (Finnegan); daughter Bettina McKee of Naples, FL; son James W. McKee III (wife, Pamela) of Charlotte, NC; daughter Sheila McKee of Boston, MA; two grandsons and two great-granddaughters. He was preceded in death by his brother, Robert McKee. A Mass of Christian burial will be held on Monday, March 4, 2013 at 10am at St. William Catholic Church, 750 Seagate Drive, Naples. Interment will be in St. Mary's Cemetery in Greenwich, CT. Donations in Jim's memory may be made to NCH Healthcare System, P.O. Box 413029, Naples, FL 34101; www.NCHmd.org. Online condolences may be made at www.fullernaples.com

Published in The New York Times on Mar. 1, 2013
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