Daniel J. Antion

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Dr. Daniel J. Antion Science Educator CAYCE - Dr. Daniel J. Antion, 78, of 135 Deliesseline Drive, Cayce, SC, died Sunday, March 23, 2014, at his home. He was born April 8, 1935, in Carnegie, Pennsylvania, a son of the late Samuel and Margaret Sams Antion. He was a veteran of the U.S. Army. He is survived by his loving companion, Sondra Wieland; his son, Douglas Edward Antion of Weirton, WV; stepson, Robert Stanley Garver Antion (Jennifer) of Colorado Springs, CO; stepdaughter, Cynthia Joan Garver Antion Horne (Art) of Greenwood, SC; brothers, Sam Antion, Jr. of Duvall, WA, and Robert James Antion (Patricia) of Morgantown, WV. He is also survived by grandchildren, Mellissa Joan Antion, Jennifer Dianna Antion Horne, Rachel Susan Antion, and Rebecca Joan Antion. A grandson, Joshua Evan Antion Horne, is deceased. Dr. Antion was Valedictorian and Vice President of the Claysville, PA, High School Class of 1953. He participated in wrestling and lettered in band, chorus and basketball. Immediately after graduation, he joined the U.S. Army and was assigned to an Army/Air Base in England where he worked as a finance and personnel specialist and taught military subjects and training. Corporal Antion was named his battalion's Soldier of the Month in 1954. During his service time, he attained the Non-Commissioned Officer rank of Sergeant (E-5). Upon separation from active duty in 1956, Sergeant Antion was awarded the National Defense Service Medal and the Good Conduct Medal. He completed his military obligation in the Standby Reserve until he was honorably discharged in 1961. Subsequent to his tour of active duty in the Army, Dr. Antion matriculated as a chemistry major at Washington and Jefferson College in Washington, PA. At the end of his first year he was named the recipient of the College's Freshman Mathematics Achievement Award. He was elected to membership in the Chi Epsilon Mu Chemistry Honorary Fraternity, the Delta Epsilon Mathematics Honorary Fraternity and the Delta Phi Alpha German Honorary Fraternity. He served as president and treasurer of both the chemistry and math honorary fraternities. In 1960 he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Chemistry with a minor in math. He earned a Master of Science Degree in Physical Chemistry from the University of Washington, Seattle, WA. After serving as research chemists at American Marietta Company in Seattle and at Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, PA, he entered the doctoral program at the University of South Carolina and completed the Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry in 2 years. Subsequently, he worked as a research chemist at the E.I. DuPont de Nemours polyester plant in Kinston, NC for 2 years before beginning a new career as an outstanding science educator at the University of South Carolina (USC) in Columbia. Dr. Antion retired from the University of South Carolina (USC) in April 2000 after serving in several capacities for 28 years. He held positions as Assistant and Associate Dean of the College of Science and Mathematics, Associate Provost of the University, Associate Director of the Intellectual Property Office and as a member of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. As an outstanding academic administrator, Dr. Antion was well known for his creative ability to solve problems and to organize complex situations. He was also recognized as an excellent teacher that ranked him among the most effective professors at USC. In addition to his regular duties at the University, Dr. Antion engaged in many voluntary activities to raise the level of science education and literacy among students and teachers in South Carolina. He was twice elected President of the South Carolina Academy of Science, three times elected President of the South Carolina Section of the American Chemical Society, and served as President of the USC Chapter of Sigma Xi, the Scientific Research Society. He was one of the co-founders of the South Carolina Association of Chemistry Teachers and was a charter member of the South Carolina Science Council (chapter of the National Science Teachers Association). Dr. Antion was the principal author and director of several grants from the National Science Foundation that totaled more than $4,000,000 for the purpose of training and developing science and mathematics teacher leaders in South Carolina. Many teachers who participated in Dr. Antion's rigorous projects subsequently became leaders in science and math education. For his leadership and achievements in the field of science education, Dr. Antion received the following honors and awards: The Governor's Award for Promoting Scientific Awareness; the Helms Citation of Excellence for Exemplary Contributions to the Development of Opportunities for Teachers and Students in Science and Technology; the Michener Award for Support of Science Opportunities for Students; two Sigma Xi awards for Support of Scientific Research; two Distinguished Service Awards from the South Carolina Section of the American Chemical Society; Award for the Best Continuing Education Project for Science and Math Teachers; and two awards for the Best Program for Elementary Schools from the American Chemical Society. In 2011 he was elected a Fellow of the American Chemical Society. Dr. Antion is a Distinguished Life Member of the South Carolina Academy of Science and a Distinguished Life Member of the South Carolina Association of Chemistry Teachers. In 2005, the South Carolina Section of the American Chemical Society renamed its Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher Award as the Daniel J. Antion Outstanding High School Chemistry Teacher Award in recognition of his many years of providing opportunities for chemistry and science teachers to improve their subject matter knowledge and methodology. Dr. Antion's influence was felt among other venues as well. For example, he was honored by the USC English Program for Internationals for exemplary support and by the University of South Carolina Press for his support of publications of scholarly books on history, literature and art. Dr. Antion's eclectic interests included bird watching, classical and semi-classical music, working crossword and Sudoku puzzles, cooking, Civil War and Revolutionary War history, and visiting America's natural wonders and National Parks. He had traveled to every state except Vermont. Dan enjoyed working with his hands and he applied his scientific knowledge to many projects. During his lifetime, he developed skills common to the trades such as carpentry, plumbing, masonry, electricity and refrigeration. He applied those skills in the total remodeling of his home. Dr. Antion devoted a large portion of his life to working with teens, pre-adults and children. At USC he was counselor to hundreds of students who came to him with academic and personal problems. He was proud of his community activities in organized youth baseball. As manager and coach of two little league baseball teams in North Carolina, he stressed teaching his players the fundamentals of the game. In the Cayce-West Columbia area he was involved with the Pony and Colt baseball leagues. For several years he was the organizer and director of the Central South Carolina Science Fair. He was a loving parent, grandfather, uncle, brother, cousin and friend. He was always true to his word. Since 2004 he had fought a valiant battle against the terminal cancer, multiple myeloma. During the ensuing years, he remained consistently upbeat, never morose and spent time encouraging other cancer patients. He never wavered from his Protestant faith and was a born-again Christian. Dr. Antion expressed his profound appreciation and affection for the fantastic nurses (Marie, Myra, Paige, Sharon, Kelly, Jackie and Lisa) employed in the Infusion Center of Lexington Oncology Associates in West Columbia and the nurses and staff at Compassionate Care Hospice for their outstanding care. Viewing and visitation will be held at Dunbar Funeral Home, Devine Street Chapel, from 10:30 until 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 27, 2014, with the funeral service beginning at 11:30 a.m. Interment will be at the Fort Jackson National Cemetery with military honors. Friends, relatives and family members may travel to the burial site. A visitation will be held 6:30 until 8:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 26, 2014, at the funeral home. Memorials may be made to the Multiple Myeloma Foundation, Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF), 383 Main Avenue, 5th Floor, Norwalk CT 06851. Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.

Published in The State on Mar. 26, 2014
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