Corning, N.Y. and Northeast Harbor
Roger G. Ackerman from Corning, N.Y., and Northeast Harbor passed away at home on July 30, 2022, surrounded by his loved ones. He was a beloved husband, father, father-in-law, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. He was the retired COO, CEO and chairman of Corning Inc. He was a business visionary and supporter of numerous local charities.
Mr. Ackerman was born on Nov. 25, 1938, to Catherine Scrivens Ackerman and Ivan Ackerman in Wyckoff, N.J. He is survived by his wife, Maureen Egan Ackerman, and four adult children: Kathleen Ackerman, Eileen (Mike) Lacombe, Roger (Bridget) Ackerman and Lysbeth (Steve) Kursh, eight grandchildren and two great-grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. Mr. Ackerman was predeceased by his parents and two siblings: brother Ivan Ackerman and sister Muriel Ackerman Patton.
Roger joined Corning in 1962, the year he received a master’s degree in ceramic engineering from Rutgers University. In 1996, he became chairman of the board and CEO of Corning Incorporated. Roger’s visionary leadership helped propel Corning Inc. to the forefront of the Information Age as one of the world’s leading producers of fiber-optic cable and other optical technologies used to create the backbone of the internet. Under his guidance, Corning began to invest more heavily in the booming telecommunications markets, which drove unprecedented growth and stock prices for Corning. After 39 years with the company, Ackerman retired from Corning in June 2001. During his tenure, he transformed a company best known for glass-ceramic cookware into one that is enjoying market-leading positions in some of the hottest areas of technology.
Roger Ackerman was an active volunteer at his beloved Rutgers as well as many other organizations, sharing both his time and expertise. Mr. Ackerman was involved in numerous company boards and civic and industry associations such as president of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award Foundation, chairman of the Business Council of New York State, director of the Corning YMCA, Board of Directors Northeast Regional YMCA, member of the Rutgers University Foundation of Overseers, trustee of Alfred University and lead director of Mass. Mutual. He and his wife, Maureen, sponsored many events and special projects at The Neighborhood House, Maine Seacoast Mission, MDI Historical Society, Mount Desert Island Hospital, NEH Library, Beatrix Ferrand Society and the Land & Garden Preserve.
Roger Ackerman loved most of all spending time with his wife of 65-plus years, Maureen, and exploring the world with her. He loved being engaged with all of his family’s varied activities, his country, all types of music, reading, athletics, traveling and boating.
One of his favorite things to do and a cherished memory of his children, nieces and nephews was sneaking off into the woods that surrounded their lake cabin in Maine. Soon after dinner, someone would say, “Where’s Dad?” and all the kids would begin to excitedly panic because they knew what was next. Out of the pitch black darkness of the Maine woods would come a low-pitched noise signaling all the children to bound outside, flashlights at the ready, to find Dad in the dark. The laughter and squealing would reach a fever pitch as they helplessly tried to find him, Roger always changing his location before calling out once again. Once, the kids were at their wits end in the search for him, he would reveal himself with a howl from a nearby direction that no one thought of and send the children screaming, laughing and racing toward the safety of the cabin. All collapsed in laughter once safe inside and then in would saunter Roger, his eyes twinkling and denying it was ever him outside. The kids were delirious with joy at this annual rite in the Maine woods.
He was an avid golfer, who collected every new golf gadget or club brought to market. The running joke around the golf courses was if you needed a new club or gadget, just go over to Roger’s basement and he will give it to you. He was a self-taught mariner who had no concerns piloting the notoriously dangerous coastal waters of Maine no matter the conditions. He was a strong admirer of the boatbuilding genius of local boat builders and commissioned many boats that are considered classics. One of his most cherished activities was traveling into the hinterlands of his beloved Maine with his wife to search for and observe moose in the wild.
Roger and Maureen shared a lifelong love affair with each other and the state of Maine, enjoying all it had to offer, whether traipsing through the North Woods in search of moose, antiquing all over the state in search of something unique, eating fresh seafood often, exploring new, out of the way discoveries, navigating the coastal fog banks without a care or simply ending the day together to watch a glorious Maine sunset. Mr. Ackerman’s values of education, hard work, altruism and the love of the Finger Lakes and state of Maine live on in all he inspired.
Calling hours are being held on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at Phillips Funeral Home in Corning, N.Y. A family service and burial will be held at a later date.