• Clements Funeral Service
    Durham, NC
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Dr. John M. Dennison

Dr. John M. Dennison

This Guest Book will remain online until 7/3/2015.
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
Everything I know about BBQ I learned from John. He was more than a professor - he was a mentor and a great friend. He showed me the importance of keeping things in perspective and never losing sight of the geologic timescale! He will forever be in my heart and memories, for he is the reason I ended up at Chapel Hill in the first place.
Wednesday, July 23, 2014
John helped me with my research on the influence of orbital variations on deposition during the Devonian while I was teaching at Guilford College. Every time I came to see him to show him what I'd learned, he would point out another outcrop that I needed to look at. I am very glad that he got to see his long years of research on the gas deposits in Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania come to fruition these past few years. He was a great geologist, a terrific teacher, and a fine friend.

Sincerely,
Jay

Jay Van Tassell, Professor of Geology
Eastern Oregon University
Monday, July 21, 2014
The Dennison Family

I met John in the Fall of 1960,at the University of Illinois, when he began his academic teaching/research career, fresh with a new PhD. I arrived from Ohio State University with my MS. My first job as a teaching assistant was helping John teach geology to agricultural students. When I received my PhD, with Albert Carozzi, I joined the faculty for a two year stint and shared an office with John for one year. We became close friends and colleagues, which lasted until his death June 2, 2014.

John led me through dozens of field trips throughout the Appalachians, demonstrating the stratigraphic detail he would publish throughout his career.

On many occasions I would add my microscopic detail, and we would coauthor talks and publications. He was the leader in all we did together,and made me think through so many of my microscopic details. And, they usually fit his grader scheme of interpretation .
We did have some great differences regarding his layer cake stratigraphy and my use of facies. I recall a very long letter/response I wrote to him when I was on sabbatical in Liverpool, England in regard to an article of his in the AAPG Bulletin. We met, and remained friends! Looking back, he was probably more right than me.

I left Urbana for Chapel Hill in 1965, and John Left for Knoxville that same year. We continued our partnership.

In 1967 John joined the faculty at the University of North Carolina, and we again became colleagues. He eventually became my boss, again, when he was elected chairman of the department.

Somewhere along the way, he got me set up to become chairman of the geology department at the University of Alabama. I stayed in Chapel Hill, and I believe he was honestly delighted that I remained.

We had plenty of lunches together, often with a dear geology colleague, Walter Wheeler. All topics were on the table, and all were approached with detailed thought and knowledge.

Our families took field trips/camping together, that sort of scattered when John remarried.

Our very grand, mainly John's, study of the Devonian Tioga Tuff(Ash, Bentonite) produced some short papers and talks. But, the grand final tomb was never completed. The main reason was probably that we had way too much data and could not bring all the microstratigraphy and petrography to a reasonable scale that could easily be published. So be it.

Dear Priscilla, what a terrific wife and friend she was throughout the marriage, and her magnificent care of John the last two years.

And we cannot forget the superb support given by John Robert and Abigail, and many others of the extended family.

Thank you, all.

Daniel Textoris
A friend forever
Monday, June 16, 2014
To The Family Of John Dennison
From A Friend And Admirer, dating to his early days in Chapel Hill

No reason for any of you to know my name, but thank you for the opportunity to pass on to you my sadness at your loss and a few little recollections from our mutual pasts and where John and I had several nice connections and memories that I value.

It would have been more appropriate for me to try to make a few of these remarks in person, at the funeral service last Thursday, but I was out of town on a long planned trip late last week.

I think I may have had John referred (1960s ?) to me, when John arrived here for house hunting, since my college degree here was in geology, and I had some friends and former professors in that UNC department. After some UNC post graduate work and then the US army drafting me, I returned to Chapel Hill where, after seeing no jobs except with my mother's small real estate partnership firm, I settled in Chapel Hill. That firm, some years later (mother & her partner) got a good, big, Raleigh builder-developer (that we were representing) over here and into some large (for Chapel Hill) acreage at the east edge of town, so John probably was going to look where that builder was anyway.

The Dennisons pretty promptly zeroed in on a one level house largely built or completed on quiet Hemlock Drive, a lot in the Ridgefield Park area, which lot had (we all were glad) with a little extra width because we had prevailed on the builder to make a those a little wider by dropping one lot (from the original plot plan) on that side of the street.

Over the years John was always so hospitable and welcoming to me, when we would run into each other from time to time, and I, of course, always loved to talk a little geology with him. He, of course, had such a fine and distinguished career in his chosen field of geology.

After one of John and my mutual friend, my former professor and one of John's early colleagues, Dr. Bill White, retired, I admired and appreciated John's keeping up regularly with Dr. White, and keeping him in the loop, on until Dr. White died. And I am recalling seeing John bringing Dr. White's crippled widow to a later funeral service for another of our mutual friends. Being a native here I recall my parents being friends with that Dr. White from early days in Chapel Hill.

John's kindness,warmth, intelligence and thoughtfulness will certainly be missed in Chapel Hill and the wider world. Oh, I forgot to mention that my wife grew up in (Buckhannon) West Virginia, so the W. Va. connection was another fun family connection for my wife and me. Any way, thank you for letting me write; and please let me know ‘if there is ever anything I can do (listed in the C. Hill phone book, on Tinkerbell).

Sincerely,
Bill Olsen
Monday, June 16, 2014
To The Family Of John Dennison
From A Friend And Admirer, dating to his early days in Chapel Hill

No reason for any of you to know my name, but thank you for the opportunity to pass on to you my sadness at your loss and a few little recollections from our mutual pasts and where John and I had several nice connections and memories that I value.

It would have been more appropriate for me to try to make a few of these remarks in person, at the funeral service last Thursday, but I was out of town on a long planned trip late last week.

I think I may have had John referred (1960s ?) to me, when John arrived here for house hunting, since my college degree here was in geology, and I had some friends and former professors in that UNC department. After some UNC post graduate work and then the US army drafting me, I returned to Chapel Hill where, after seeing no jobs except with my mother's small real estate partnership firm, I settled in Chapel Hill. That firm, some years later (mother & her partner) got a good, big, Raleigh builder-developer (that we were representing) over here and into some large (for Chapel Hill) acreage at the east edge of town, so John probably was going to look where that builder was anyway.

The Dennisons pretty promptly zeroed in on a one level house largely built or completed on quiet Hemlock Drive, a lot in the Ridgefield Park area, which lot had (we all were glad) with a little extra width because we had prevailed on the builder to make a those a little wider by dropping one lot (from the original plot plan) on that side of the street.

Over the years John was always so hospitable and welcoming to me, when we would run into each other from time to time, and I, of course, always loved to talk a little geology with him. He, of course, had such a fine and distinguished career in his chosen field of geology.

After one of John and my mutual friend, my former professor and one of John's early colleagues, Dr. Bill White, retired, I admired and appreciated John's keeping up regularly with Dr. White, and keeping him in the loop, on until Dr. White died. And I am recalling seeing John bringing Dr. White's crippled widow to a later funeral service for another of our mutual friends. Being a native here I recall my parents being friends with that Dr. White from early days in Chapel Hill.

John's kindness,warmth, intelligence and thoughtfulness will certainly be missed in Chapel Hill and the wider world. Oh, I forgot to mention that my wife grew up in (Buckhannon) West Virginia, so the W. Va. connection was another fun family connection for my wife and me. Any way, thank you for letting me write; and please let me know ‘if there is ever anything I can do (listed in the C. Hill phone book, on Tinkerbell).

Sincerely,
Bill Olsen
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