He was born in a farmhouse in Bainbridge, Ohio on November 25, 1934 to Frank and Elizabeth Benner and had the driest sense of humor.
A quiet, busy man who loved to explore and study things, Dave received his Ph.D. in Genetics from the University of California, Riverside in 1970. He served in the U.S. Army from 1958-1960, taught high school science in Napa, CA, and was Professor of Biological Sciences at East Tennessee State University from 1971-1999. He was honored as Professor Emeritus at ETSU in 2000.
In addition to his academic service as department chair and research in Drosophila genetics, Dave worked as a volunteer for the March of Dimes, the Jonesborough International Storytelling Festival, the Grey Fossil Site, the Johnson City Public Library, and served on the James H. Quillen VA Medical Center Subcommittee on Research Safety for eight years. He also turned his avid curiosity to the outdoors in bird watching, hiking, camping, and canoeing, sometimes with more adventures than his family was ready for. He was also a history buff, avid reader, traveler, foodie, baker, gardener, and serious music aficionado. Above all, he was dedicated to his family.
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Sharon Lewis Benner; two daughters LaVerne Benner Castillo and husband Tim, and Eileen Benner Madden and husband Tony; four grandchildren Ruth Castillo, Clark Castillo and his wife Emily, Sean Madden, and Grace Madden; one great-grandson Edward; his sister Joyce; and many beloved nephews and nieces.
There will be a memorial service on Friday, February 8, 2019 at 2 PM at Covenant Presbyterian Church, Johnson City, TN. Visitation with the family will precede the service at the church starting at noon.
The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be given to the Covenant Presbyterian Church Choir, 603 Sunset Drive, Johnson City, TN 37604; the ETSURA Scholarship Endowment, PO Box 70564, Johnson City, TN 37614-1707; or the Southern Appalachian Highlands Conservancy, 372 Merrimon Avenue, Asheville, NC 28801-1222.
Memories and condolences may be shared with the family via www.morrisbaker.com.
Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 E. Oakland Ave., Johnson City, is serving the family. (423) 282-1521