Stephen Richard Bender ’64

Stephen Richard Bender of Elk Park, NC, passed away on December 18, 2022 at Appalachian Regional Medical Center. Steve was born on October 28, 1942 in Boston, Massachusetts to the late Dr. Charles Richard Bender and Ruth Jardine Bender.

Steve was raised in Atlanta, Georgia and graduated from Davidson College with a BS in Chemistry. He took additional classes at Georgia Tech and received a Master of Arts in teaching from Emory University. He taught in Oak Park, Illinois Public Schools before affiliating with The Presbyterian Mission Board as a teacher of missionary children in Ceres, Brazil. He returned to Oak Park after three years and retired from Oak Park Schools after thirty years.

Steve and his wife, Donna, moved to Banner Elk in 1995. Steve was a lifelong Presbyterian, having been raised at Peachtree Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia. He was very active in Banner Elk Presbyterian Church as an elder, adult Sunday School teacher and member of the Chancel Choir. Steve was a servant of God and loved helping in any way he could. He and Donna took courses in lay ministry through the Presbyterian Church.
He also served the community by volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, preparing income taxes through AARP and conducting numerous used book sales for the Avery County Public Library. Anytime a request for help was made, Steve was there.

Steve is survived by his wife of 40 years, Donna Gentile Bender, and four children – Amy Lynne Bender (Chris Johnstone), Charles Richard Bender, II (Mitze), Elizabeth Jardine Bender (Brad Tombleson), Stephen Richard Bender (Alison) and five grandchildren. Also surviving him are two sisters, Andrea Arquitt (Ed) and Karen Cooper (Joe).
Steve’s priorities were God, family, Church, Coca Cola and the NY Yankees.

A memorial service will be held on December 28 at 2:00 PM at Banner Elk Presbyterian Church with a reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks for contributions to Banner Elk Presbyterian Church in Steve’s memory.

Peter Cassell ’64

Peter Ingve Cassell, 80, of South Down Shores, passed away on Sunday, November 20, 2022, at his home surrounded by family, after a 2-year battle with sarcoma. Peter was born on April 21, 1942, in New Rochelle, NY. He was the son of the late Carl and Lucile (Anderson) Cassell.

He moved to West Palm Beach, FL, at age 2. He met his future wife, Veronica (Connie) Morkert, in junior high school, and they married on August 25, 1962. They raised their family in Palm Beach Gardens, FL, moving to Andover, MA in July 1975, and to Laconia in November 1998.

Peter graduated from Davidson College in 1964 with a Bachelor’s Degree in English, where he was a brother of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He worked as a computer analyst and programmer during his working years. He proudly attained the rank of colonel in the US Army Reserves, retiring after 30 years of service. Over his lifetime, Peter volunteered for many groups and served on several committees. He worked with the Trauma Intervention Program in Andover, and after moving to Laconia, he volunteered with the Got Lunch Program, was a co-developer of the We Honor Veterans Program, and was a hospice volunteer with Granite VNA. He also held various positions on multiple committees in South Down Shores. Peter loved his community and wanted to give back as much as he could.

Peter loved boats, both sailboats and power boats. He and Connie made several sailing trips to the Virgin Islands with friends. He also enjoyed boating on Lake Winnipesaukee, and often enjoyed spending an afternoon moored in a small cove on the Lake, just relaxing. Peter also loved music and singing. From singing in church choirs to Barbershop choruses or quartets, he always had a song in his heart.

Peter was predeceased by his parents, Carl Ingve and Lucile (Anderson) Cassell, and his wife of 50 years, Veronica (Morkert) Cassell. He is survived by his daughter Melanie (Cassell) Prugh, her husband Duane Prugh, Jr., their children Ashley (Prugh) Rosa and Geoffrey Prugh of Methuen and North Andover, MA; daughter Tracy Cassell, of Stoughton, MA; sister Susan (Cassell) Everson, and her husband John, of Vonore, TN; brother-in-law Terrence Morkert, and his wife Stephanie, of Boca Raton, FL; and many nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews.

Per Peter’s wishes, there will be no calling hours. A private family burial will be held at a later date at the New Hampshire State Veterans Cemetery, Boscawen, NH. A Celebration of Life gathering will be held, as well. In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, the family suggests memorial donations in Peter’s name be made to the New Hampshire Humane Society, NHHumane.org, or the Granite VNA, granitevna.org. Wilkinson-Beane-Simoneau-Paquette Funeral Home & Cremation Services and 603Cremations.com, 164 Pleasant Street, Laconia, NH, is assisting the family with arrangements. For more information and to view an online memorial, please visit www.wilkinsonbeane.com.

John Bruce Steigner ’64

Dr. John Bruce Steigner, MD, was born in Pennsylvania to John and Regina Steigner on October 31, 1942 and passed from this life in Houma, LA on November 13, 2022. 

Bruce graduated from Davidson College and the Medical University of South Carolina.  He practiced as an ophthalmologist in Houma.

He is survived by his wife, Sharon Honeycutt Steigner, his sons, John (Julie), Mike (Claire), Patrick (Sarah), and Jason, seven grandchildren Loraine, Oliver, Liam, Gwen, Sebastian, Ethan, and Caroline Steigner, two sisters, Barbara Bland and Sally Duckett. He is also survived by the mother of his sons, Milly Dampeer, stepsons, Bruce Ryland (Leigha) and Clint Ryland, and five step grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in Houma, LA at Chauvin Funeral Home Friday, November 18, 2022 from 9:00 AM until service time at 11:00 AM. Chauvin Funeral Home is honored to serve the family of Dr. John Bruce Steigner.

To send condolences please visit www.chauvinfuneralhome.com.

Donald Coldwell Fuller Jr. ’64

Donald Coldwell Fuller Jr., known almost universally as “Dee,” died at his home on Nov. 7, 2022, of aggressive cancer. He was born on May 14, 1944, in Bellefonte, Pa., but moved to Milledgeville, Ga., in 1945 with his parents, the late Donald C. Fuller Sr., and the late Lena Frisbie Fuller, who were both educators — Dr. Fuller at what was then Georgia State College for Women, and Mrs. Fuller in the Baldwin County public schools.

Dee attended Peabody School at GSCW from nursery school through fifth grade. As a 3-year-old, he began a search for the “biggest number in the world,” the first manifestation of his lifelong fascination with numbers. After Peabody School came two years at City Elementary School and then Baldwin High School, where he excelled in academics and played the trombone in the Baldwin High School band. He was the District Star Student his senior year. Among the many happy memories of his childhood was the fun he had playing sandlot ball at Gilbert Park (now absorbed by Georgia College’s maintenance facility) with his neighborhood friends.

Graduating from high school in 1960, he matriculated at Davidson College, where he spent two-plus years before moving on to The University of Georgia from which he earned the BA and MA degrees in English and ultimately the MA degree in mathematics, completing all coursework for the PhD in that field.

From 1966-1969 Dee served in the U.S. Navy, teaching English to midshipmen at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. After a stint at UGA’s graduate school, he joined the faculty at Gainesville College (now the University of North Georgia) in 1973 and was a professor of mathematics there until his retirement in 1999. After retiring, he and his wife Kathe returned to Milledgeville, his hometown (and her adopted hometown) and settled into the pleasures of the leisurely life. Except that he very much missed his interactions with students and the intellectual stimulation of helping them with academic challenges, especially in math and math related fields like physics. Almost immediately he signed on as a volunteer tutor at what is now known as The Learning Center at GC, and for 20 years he spent several days a week working with students, who fondly referred to him as “Mr. Dee” or “the old man in the Learning Center.” A gifted mathematician and lifelong learner, helping students overcome their fear of mathematics and realize its beauty and power gave him great joy.

A person of many interests, Dee read widely, loved music, especially of the baroque era, and was a great fan of all GC Bobcat sports teams. He loved cars and knew everything about them except how to fix them. He wrote with great facility and kept up a wide-ranging and lively email correspondence with his many friends. He had a quick wit and a keen sense of fun. One of his favorite pastimes was riding the backroads of Middle Georgia in his Prius V; he and Kathe spent most Sunday mornings happily exploring those roads while listening to the glorious music of Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart and other composers over a fine car audio system. He was a kind and deeply spiritual person who in later years belonged to no organized religious group.

He is survived by Katherine McLean Fuller, his wife of 52 years; his sister, Beckwith (Becky) Fuller Merryman (Emory) and his niece, Mary Lee Merryman, all of Elkton, Va.; his nephew, Emory Hughes Merryman, III (Xiao Yen), and his great nephews, Victor and Alexander Merryman, all of Arlington, VA.

His beloved and loving dogs Lola and Annie also survive and miss him.

In place of flowers as a memorial, it is suggested that those who wish, make a contribution to the Georgia College Learning Center, c/o the Georgia College Foundation, Campus Box 96, Milledgeville, Ga. 31061; the Animal Rescue Foundation (ARF), 711 S. Wilkinson St., Milledgeville, Ga. 31061, or their charity of choice. Another fitting way to remember Dee would be to listen to music that stirs one’s soul or to figure out a math puzzle.
The funeral will be private.
Moores Funeral Home & Crematory has charge of arrangements.

Thomas Gunn Archibald ’64

Thomas Gunn Archibald died in the early morning of Sunday, October 23, 2022 at Cooperman Barnabas Hospital in Livingston, New Jersey following a stroke.

He once wrote his own obituary in this way: “Thomas Gunn Archibald, born February 3, 1943. Husband, father, friend. Enjoyed travel and learning. Had the good fortune to have lived in quiet times. Examined life when he could.” That says it all. To add more detail, there is this: Tom was a very well-educated man, having received his B.S. from Davidson College and his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Tulane University. More importantly, he pursued knowledge and understanding throughout his life. People often sought out his advice. In addition to wisdom, he had an irreverent sense of humor.

He was a career chemist, research scientist, research director and vice-president of technology development in the United States, Europe and China. His fields of expertise included pesticides, energetic materials, polymers and pharmaceuticals, and he had over 100 patents and papers. For many years he served as a consultant to fine drug manufacturers and was a Board member of Porton Fine Chemicals Ltd. in China, where he grew to love and appreciate the Chinese culture.

He was also proud of being a professor of chemistry at the University of the Virgin Islands, an HBCU university. He found time during his life to be an orange rancher, realtor, builder, marriage and family counselor (MFCC), crisis-line volunteer, Alternatives-to-Violence trainer, law student, and comedy manager. He liked to say that his hobbies were traveling, learning new things, and promptly forgetting them.

Since moving to St. Petersburg in 2014, he was an enthusiastic member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg and ASPEC (Association of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College). He was happiest in recent times when preparing for a talk at ASPEC on such varied topics as economics, science and history.

Tom was a devoted son to Harold Freeman Archibald and Lina Jean Gunn Archibald, who predeceased him by far too many years. He is survived by his loving friend and wife of almost forty years, Barbara Gould Archibald, and by his children, Sybil Archibald and Barry Echtman, and Lydia Archibald; and also by his step-children, Maile Gould D’Arcy, Tamara Gould and David Gould and their dear spouses. His eleven grandchildren, who called him “Opi,” miss him as well, Harry, Kate, Luc, Emma, Dorothy, Heather, Riley, Hannah, Samuel, Ava and Amalia.

A Celebration of Tom’s Life will be held on February 4, 2023 at the Unitarian Universalist Church of St. Petersburg, 100 Mirror Lake Drive N., St. Petersburg, at a time to be announced.