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Edward Exum Hood Jr.

1930 - 2019 Obituary Condolences
Edward Exum Hood Jr. Obituary
Edward Exum Hood, Jr.

Palm Beach, FL. - Edward Exum Hood, Jr., of North Palm Beach, FL and Banner Elk, NC, passed away Sunday, February 3rd, at Jupiter Medical Center in Florida, surrounded by family. He was 88.

Born September 15, 1930, in Zebulon, North Carolina, he was the son of the late Edward Exum Hood, Sr. and Nellie Triplett Hood. Mr. Hood grew up in Boonville, NC where he met Kay, his next-door neighbor, high school sweetheart, and devoted wife of 68 years. He was class valedictorian at Boonville High School. Kay and Edward eloped while he was in college, keeping their marriage a secret for one year before revealing their vows.

Edward E. Hood, Jr. retired as Vice Chairman of the Board and Executive Officer of the General Electric Company in 1993. He 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. Mr. Hood began his 36-year career with General Electric as a Design Engineer in the Flight Propulsion Division in 1957 (Evendale, OH). His work with nuclear propulsion and new design concepts for gas turbine engines led to him being named head of GE's Supersonic Transport Project (SST) in 1962. In 1968 Mr. Hood was elected a Company Vice President and General Manager of the Commercial Engine Division, leading GE's re-entry into the commercial aircraft engine market with the development of the DC-10 aircraft engine (CF6). In 1972 he was promoted to Vice President and Group Executive of GE's International Group, a position that took him and his family from Cincinnati, to the east coast, where they settled in New Canaan, CT. His career with GE continued to advance and in 1979, he was elected Vice Chairman and Executive Officer, 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 AIAA.

Upon retirement from General Electric, Mr. Hood remained active serving as a director on multiple boards over the years, including Lockheed Martin Corp, 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 Alumni Association Board of Directors and the Board of Trustees (1995-2003) at his alma mater, North Carolina State, he also served on the Board of Trustees at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with (1980-1995, ten years as Chair), 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's selfless work at each of these colleges, led to him receiving two of NC State's highest honors, the Watauga Medal and the Menscer Cup. At RPI, he was named Chairman Emeritus in 1995, and at Lees-McRae he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities in 2011.

Mr. Hood was a member of the Lost Tree Club in North Palm Beach, FL and the Elk River Club in Banner Elk, NC. He had a lifelong passion for aviation and earned his pilot's license at the age of 15. He loved to take the captain's seat when traveling on business on GE corporate jets and eventually owned and piloted several private jets after retirement. He was also a former member of the Conquistadores del Cielo (Conquerors of the Sky), a "secret club" of top aviation experts.

Mr. Hood will be remembered for his kind and generous spirit, his incredible intellect and his philanthropic efforts. He is survived by his wife, Kay Transou Hood; his two daughters and their husbands, Lisa Bezzeg (Robert) of Campobello, SC and Molly O'Brien Watkins (David) of Darien, CT; three grandchildren, Connor O'Brien, Cailin O'Brien and Cary O'Brien; his sister and her husband Nancy Taylor (Ralph); three step-grandchildren, Evan O'Brien, Bryce O'Brien and Olivia Watkins; and eleven nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his parents, his sister Ann Porter Hood and his brother C.W. Hood.

A celebration of his life will be held this spring at North Carolina State in Raleigh, NC. Memorial donations may be made to Jupiter Medical Center in Jupiter, FL. or to the Charles A. Cannon Jr. Memorial Hospital in Linville, NC.
Published in The Cincinnati Enquirer on Feb. 11, 2019
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