Thomas Craig ‘Scoop’ McKinney, 1941-2020

Mar 1, 2021


On January 14, longtime newspaperman Craig McKinney passed away due to complications from a stroke. He was 79 years old.

McKinney was born in Hohokus, New Jersey, on November 29, 1941, the second child of Thomas Craig and Adelaide Katherine Kuber McKinney. His first sister, Susan Elizabeth, died in 1942 after suffering an allergic reaction to anesthesia. Two other siblings survive him, Bruce McKinney of California and Linda Sullivan of Maine.

McKinney attended Ursinus College in Pennsylvania, graduating in 1963. After college, he returned to his hometown to work in his family business, the Hudson Valley Newspapers, which his parents bought in 1951 for $2,500.

The circulation at that time was 1,000, but by 1970 it hit 5,600. They published four weeklies: the New Paltz News, the Marlborough Record, Highland Mid-Hudson Post, Southern Ulster Pioneer (Milton), and Wallkill Valley World, covering Shawangunk. The focus was on local reporting of school, town and county meetings, as well as local sporting games and events.

Bruce McKinney helped to build the business, and by his sophomore year in college (1966), total sales reached $100,000/year, and just a few years later, sales topped out at $175,000. In 1980, Craig’s mother gave the papers to him.

Bruce said Craig began his long career in journalism as a community reporter.

“In those days, small town weekly newspapers did little in the way of reporting, relying primarily on submitted news releases to fill the paper,” Bruce recalled. “Craig took his job seriously, and while in time he would become a columnist, editor, publisher and owner, his first love was always getting out in the community and informing and explaining to his readers what was happening in their towns. He saw it as his responsibility, not just to report on what he saw, but to explain it, as well. His aim was always to use his role as the people's ears to better the communities he served.”

Craig’s sister Linda Sullivan is 11 years younger than Craig.

“I was 7 when he went to college, so there wasn’t that much interaction between us at that time in our lives,” she said, adding that she got to know her brother better when she was about 20 years old. She worked one summer reporting for Craig on Pine Bush, claiming that, “I learned how to write from him, and working for him was a great experience.”

Linda said Craig, who never had children of his own, wrote thousands of profiles of students over the years for the paper.

“The way he described it was to help them get through their learning blocs,” she said. “His caring for other people really stands out for me.”

Linda said in the final year of Craig’s life, the two became closer, especially after his emergency surgery last March.

“We’d talk not every day but almost every day, and I have to say I’m terribly grateful in the last 10 months that my relationship with him deepened,” she said. “It was nice for that to happen.”

Town of Marlborough Supervisor Al Lanzetta said Craig often called to talk about different town or county issues.

“He had his own unique way of writing a story. I found them entertaining going way back to the [Southern Ulster] Pioneer days,” he said. “He was very pleasant and forthcoming and was just a gentleman. He asked the right questions and was always fair when he interviewed me. I have the utmost respect for him. I’m gonna miss him.”

Marlborough resident Dr. Anthony Pascale recalled that his sons Nick and Craig used to debate on a number of topics that eventually led to an invitation to Nick in 1995 to write for the paper; Craig wrote a column entitled ‘As I See It,’ and Nick’s pieces were called, ‘As Others See It.’ Dr. Pascale called it a “good give and take.”

Pascale met Craig in 1964, “and he always kept in contact with me. He would call me about certain political things that were going on in town, and he would give me his version of what he thought it was, and I would give him my version, and sometimes he would convince me he was right, which didn’t happen too often, but we always exchanged ideas. He had a good handle on the community and the families that run the town. He was an exceptional guy.”

Anthony Porpiglia, now 61, has known Craig since he was 16 years old.

“Through football, he did an interview with me in my senior year, and we started to become friends after that,” he said.

Craig helped Porpiglia get a job at Tantillo’s garage and later a job with an electrical contractor, Westside Electric. He even helped him to get into Hudson Valley Community College for electrical studies.

Bruce McKinney said a Zoom memorial is planned, but the date is not yet confirmed. For information, contact

In addition, a celebration of Craig's life will hopefully take place in September at the New Paltz Cemetery, accompanied by the uplifting sounds of a New Orleans style jazz band.