Affectionately known as the “Tin Man”, Sean Dukes received the gift of life in the form of two heart transplants: his first in 1986 at the age of 19, and his second in 2009 at the age of 42. Neither one slowed him down or stopped him from living a full and accomplished life.
Sean received a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering from Drexel University and a Masters of Business Administration from MIT as part of the Sloan Fellow Class of 2005. Sean dedicated 25 years of his career working for Lockheed Martin, where he was a respected colleague and leader in both Space Systems and Aeronautics. During his tenure, he was the recipient of many technical and leadership awards, including a 1999 recognition as a national Black Engineer of the Year. Sean later went on to serve as the Vice President at The Triumph Group and ended his formidable career as the Vice President for Operational Excellence at BAE Systems Platforms and Services. Sean took great pride in his career and loved pointing to a satellite, jet or even a tank and proudly proclaiming, “I made that”.
Much more than an engineer or executive, Sean truly was a friend to all he met. He was generous with his time, knowledge and wisdom, and was a mentor to many throughout the years. You could bet he was the smartest person in any room, but he was humble, kind and unassuming. Usually so calm and serious that when he laughed, he truly lit up the room and you couldn’t help but laugh along with him. He went out of his way to help friends and strangers alike and was a particularly proud supporter of the United States military.
Most of all, Sean was a proud and loving family man. He was married to Allison for 26 years and was the beloved father of son, Cameron, and daughter, Avery. He always put his family first and performed small acts of love and kindness each and every day.
Sean was a part of Gift of Life since 1986, first as an organ recipient and later as a volunteer, board member and donor. He was a medal-winning athlete on Team Philadelphia at the 1990, 1992 and 1994 Transplant Olympics, and was an avid speaker on the importance of organ and tissue donation.
He served on the Medical Advisory and Policy Board from 2011-2012 and on the Governing Board of Directors, as Secretary and Treasurer from 2013-2018, and as Vice Chair from 2020-2022. He also served on the Transplant Foundation in 2019. Sean was instrumental in the naming of Gift of Life Howie’s House.
Sean made the most of the two gifts he received and never took a moment for granted. Upon his death, he had the privilege of giving the gift of sight to two individuals through the donation of his corneas.
Rest in peace, Tinman. You are loved and will never be forgotten.