When former Saint Mary’s President Brother Mel Anderson first met Elaine McKeon, who passed away earlier this year at age 86, she wasthe shy, retiring wife of George McKeon, a construction companyexecutive and major College donor. After she lost her husband, whodied at age 51, Elaine transformed her life and became one of the mostremarkable people Brother Mel has ever known.Elaine McKeon served on Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees from1980 to 1990 and was chair of the board from 1983 to 1985. In 1996she was chosen to help chart the College’s future as a New CenturyCommittee member.
Brother Mel sang the praises of Elaine’s distinguished service aschair of the Saint Mary’s Board of Trustees. “She was always upbeat,but firm, and knew how to get things done,” he said. “She didn’t rushto make judgments, but was very thoughtful about what she did.”She cared deeply about everyone and on one occasion hosted asurprise party at her Hillsborough home for Brother Mel’s 25th anniversaryas SMC president. On another, she invited the entire basketballteam to celebrate their success at a sport of which she and George,the owner of the Sacramento Kings, were very fond.Although neither of them attended Saint Mary’s — George’s olderbrother did, but he was killed in Europe in World War II — the McKeonsbecame some of the school’s most generous donors, funding manyprojects, including McKeon Pavilion.
Elaine’s other passion, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, consumed nearly three decades of her life. She served as board president from 1989 to 1995 and chair of the board from 1995 to 2004, guiding the institution during a major move and expansion. The museum closed early one afternoon in January so her friends and family could honor a woman who touched the lives of everyone she met.