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Robert William Benortham, 83, of Carbondale, KS passed into glory November 21, 2023. He was born February 28, 1940 at Christ’s Hospital in Topeka, KS the son of Fredrick William Benortham and Madeline Lillian (Skonberg) Benortham. He lived his first five years at 701 Cambridge Street (near the Zoo) in Topeka, KS. He moved with his family to a farm near Harveyville, KS where his Dad farmed and his mother was a homemaker.
He attended Harveyville Grade School which was just down the road from the farm. He walked to school but occasionally rode a Shetland pony with a neighbor girl. He graduated from Harveyville Rural High School with the Class of 1958.
Robert earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Emporia State University. He completed a Master’s Degree in Chemistry from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1966 and a Ph.D. in Horticultural Science from Kansas State University in 1972. He also took additional course work at Washburn University and the University of Hawaii.
In 1962, he began his professional career in teaching at Topeka West High School. He taught Biology and Chemistry for 37 years. He also was a Swim Coach at Topeka West High School. He continued teaching Chemistry for another 15 years for Allen County Community College in Burlingame. He taught science courses in the evenings at Calvary Bible College in Grandview, MO for 7 years. He was able to do this because he had a Pilot’s License and was able to fly from Topeka to the Richard-Gebauer Airfield. The last few years of his teaching career included being a substitute teacher with the Santa Fe Trail 434 School District.
Dr. Bob was awarded “Outstanding Teacher” and “Who’s Who” among Teachers. He later authored two Lab Manuals one for Physical Science and the other for Biological Science.
On October 16, 1971 at the Topeka Bible Church, he was united in marriage to Amy Lucille “Lucy” Tichenor in Topeka, KS. They spent 49 years together serving the Lord in teaching Sunday school, working in the children’s AWANA program and being involved with music and activities at Overbrook Bible Church before her passing on November 21, 2020. Both Robert and Lucy were active in the Gideon ministry where they both served in various leadership positions at the local and state level. They even spent a short period of time on a summer missions project in Guatemala. Robert started playing piano and organ at age 14 and served as organist for two Topeka churches before moving to Overbrook.
Dr. Bob and Lucy started and operated a small greenhouse and florist business for 20 years near Overbrook, KS. They loved being outside gardening together and spending time with their grandchildren. In the summer they would host a “Grandpa & Grandma Camp” for their granddaughters. Dr. Bob ran 5 K’s and marathons throughout the country. He ran his first marathon at age 60. He especially loved running with his grandkids.
Dr. Benortham was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Madeline Benortham; and his wife, Lucy Benortham.
He is survived by his daughter, Sara Smith and her husband, David of St. Joseph, MO; a brother, Thomas Benortham and his wife, Liz of Topeka, KS; three sisters-in-law, Nora Lovely and her husband, Dan of Norwalk, IA, Karla Alkire of Derby, KS and Mary Shipps and her husband, Steve of Topeka, KS; three granddaughters, Joscelyn, Nikola and Kyla; and many nieces and nephews.
To celebrate Dr. Bob’s Life, a memorial service will be held 11 a.m. Saturday, December 2, 2023 at the Overbrook Bible Church, 719 Western Heights Drive, Overbrook, KS 66524. The family will receive friends before the service at 10 a.m. at the Church. Memorial contributions may be made to The Gideons International or Overbrook Bible Church and sent in c/o the Lamb-Roberts-Price Funeral Home, P.O. Box 268, Overbrook, KS 66524. Condolences may be sent to the family through www.lamb-roberts.com