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Thomas "Tom" McKean '17 August 18, 2023 3:06 PM updated: August 18, 2023 3:23 PM

Thomas William "Tom" McKean 

December 3, 1994 - July 9, 2023 

Thomas (Tom) McKean, beloved son, brother, grandson, uncle and friend passed from this life on Sunday, July 9, 2023, at the age of 28 as the result of a pedestrian accident.

He is survived by his parents, William B. and Martha McKean of Benbrook, TX and Michael and Tammy Alexander of Rociada, NM. Tom is also survived by his siblings Anne (Adam) Broderson of Kona, HI, George Shannon of Kansas City, KS, Kevin Shannon of Wichita, KS, Caleb (Elizabeth) Alexander of Columbia, MO, Aaron Alexander of Wichita, KS and John (Samantha Finglass) McKean of Fort Worth, TX. He is also survived by his grandfather William C. McKean of Dallas, TX, nieces Evelyn Broderson and Kate Shannon, roommate Louise Wo of San Francisco and many other family members and friends. Tom was preceded in death by his grandparents Helen McKean and John and Elnora Farrell.

Tom grew up in Andale, KS where he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout and the Light of Christ Award from the Diocese of Wichita. He was active in many activities and created numerous enduring relationships before graduating Salutatorian from Andale High School in 2013.

Tom attended Texas A&M University on a Presidential Scholarship, graduating Magna Cum Laude with a degree in Molecular and Cellular Biology in May, 2017. He was active in a variety of organizations, including Freshman Leadership International, Century Men's Club, the Public Policy Internship Program in Washington, D.C. and served as an Aggie Fish Camp Counselor. Tom also made numerous lasting friendships, enjoyed many a football game and outings to Northgate while at A&M. He became committed to providing sustainable food sources for people around the world following a student trip to Brazil and while working at A&M's Howdy Farm. Tom was awarded a fellowship to The Ohio State University where he received a Masters' in Controlled Environment Agriculture in December of 2019, becoming an expert in greenhouse technologies and indoor strawberry production.

In 2019, Tom began his work in Controlled Environment Agriculture with the Growcer in Ontario, Canada before accepting a position with Plenty in San Francisco, in 2021. Tom was instrumental in the success of Plenty's experimental strawberry farm and their impending plans for a commercial vertical farm in Virginia. Tom's scientific knowledge, problem solving ability, humor and managerial skills made him a beloved and invaluable member of the team at Plenty and recently earned him a promotion to Applied Research Manager.

Tom loved exploring San Francisco, finding new places to eat, taking in the views, enjoying live music and meeting up with friends. He also loved traveling and ventured throughout the Americas, Europe and Asia. Tom lived life to the fullest while cultivating kindness, joy and the love of strawberries wherever he went.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, August 5 at 2:00 PM at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, Dorothea Leonhardt Lecture Hall in Fort Worth, TX. The celebration will be livestreamed via Facebook. Internment will take place on Sunday, August 6 in Kopperl, TX.

Memorials can be made to Texas A&M's Howdy Farm, TAMU flywire site (please place "In Memory of Tom McKean '17" in the Student ID line at checkout) or make a contribution in Tom's name to your local community garden.


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