In Memoriam: Myles J. McDonough, Emeritus Trustee

April 04, 2012

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Myles J. McDonough, the founder and chairman of FLEXcon Company in Spencer, Mass., and a longtime WPI trustee, died March 30, 2012. He was 82.

McDonough was born in New York and earned a degree in chemistry at Seton Hall University. He completed graduate work at Stevens Institute of Technology before working as a chemist for Pharmacle Tape Company in New Brunswick, N.J., and Rubber & Asbestos Corp. in Bloomfield, N.J.

In 1956 he founded FLEXcon in a garage in Spencer. The company started out making plastic film laminates for women’s shoes and handbags and over the years grew into a leading manufacturer of pressure-sensitive film laminates and self-adhesive films. Today it has more than 1,000 employees worldwide and annual sales of $300 million. It has been a privately held, family-owned company throughout its history.

"Mr. McDonough was a classic hands-on, can do entrepreneur who was constantly surprising his customers and his employees by making the impossible possible," notes his official obituary. "He built his first equipment using parts from dismantled washing machines and created a multimillion-dollar company in one lifetime with no venture capital and no bank loans."

McDonough was invited to join the WPI Board of Trustees in 1989 and was an active trustee for 10 years. He served on the board's Physical Facilities Committee during a period that saw the construction of the Campus Center, the transformation of a portion of West Street into a pedestrian mall, and the renovation of Higgins Laboratories, home of the Mechanical Engineering Department, and several WPI residence halls. He was also instrumental in helping the university launch the $154 million Campaign for WPI.

He was a member of the Presidential Founders, which honors donors to WPI whose lifetime contributions equal or exceed $100,000, a lifetime member of the President's Advisory Council, and a member of the Alden Society. In 2003 WPI recognized his contributions to the university by presenting him with the WPI Award for Distinguished Service.

McDonough also served on the boards of Memorial Hospital in Worcester and Worcester County National Bank. He and his wife, Jean, established the McDonough Charitable Foundation, which supports and provides leadership to local not-for-profit and social service organizations. The Worcester Historical Museum presented the McDonoughs with the 2011 Harvey Ball Smile Award for their contributions to the greater Worcester community.

Myles McDonough is survived by his wife, two sons, including Neil McDonough, the current president and CEO of FLEXcon, and seven grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. on Monday, April 9, 2012, in Our Lady of the Rosary Church, 7 Church Street, in Spencer. A reception will follow at 11:30 a.m. at FLEXcon headquarters. Memorial donations may be made to the Arthritis Foundation, 29 Crafts Road, Newton, MA 02160.