Theodore David McKinleywas born in New York City on May 19, 1914. After graduating from Worcester Polytechnic with a B.S. in 1935 and the University of Delaware M.S. in 1942, he joined the research staff of the Pigments Department of E. I. du Pont de Nemours. Following a variety of research assignments, he was made Supervisor at the Du Pont Experimental Station in 1955. His research involved the chemistry and metallurgy of titanium, niobium, tantalum, chromium, zirconium, silicon, and boron. He also studied the optics of white pigments.
In 1969 he completed an eight-year appointment as consultant and U.S. coordinator for the Structures and Materials Panel, AGARD (Advisory Group on Aerospace Research and Development) which operated under the scientific arm of NATO. It provided a medium for exchange of information among the various NATO countries especially those with advanced aerospace capabilities.
McKinley served on two panels of the National Materials Advisory Board on refractory metals and alloys and was co-chairman of one panel for four years.
In 1962 McKinley was instrumental in organizing Division 1, Committee E-3 of the American Society of Testing and Materials and served as its Chairman until 1967. The Division was concerned with the detection and measurement of gases in metals and alloys in concentrations down to parts per million and lower.
He served as lecturer for the American Chemical Society and lecturer of an educational TV series sponsored by the American Society for Metals.
McKinley's Society Divisional interests was mainly in the Electrothermics and Metallurgy Division. He served on the Executive Committee for many years and was Division Chairman, 1967-69. He organized several symposia and was editor-in-chief of "The Electron Microprobe" volume in the Electrochemical Series.
McKinley served as Society Vice-President (1969-72) and President in the year 1972-73. He served on numerous standing committees of the Society including Ways and Means, Long Range Planning, Nominating, Finance, Education, and Perkin Medal Award.
He was also a member of the American Chemical Society, the Society of Chemical Industry, the Research Society of American, the American Society for Testing and Materials, the American Institute of Chemists, Sigma Xi, and Tau Beta Pi.