David Laird Dungan
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DUNGAN, DAVID LAIRD - 72, died of a stroke on Sunday, November 30, 2008. He was a professor emeritus of the Religious Studies Department at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville where he taught for 38 years until retirement in 2002. He leaves behind his loving wife of 49 years, Anne; and three sons: Nathan (Minneapolis, MN), James (St. Paul, MN), and Bill (Cary, NC); daughters-in-law Carolyn, Darcy and Stephanie; and grandchildren, Sam and Jack, Simon and Leo, Katie and Ben; and his younger brother, Tom (Sparks, NV). His family will miss him dearly for many years to come. Born in New Haven, Connecticut in 1936, David spent his early years in China where his parents were missionaries with the Presbyterian Foreign Mission Board. He grew up in Berea, Kentucky, graduating from high school in 1953. He attended The College of Wooster (1957), McCormick Seminary in Chicago (1963) and Harvard Divinity School (ThD) (1968). He came to Knoxville with his family in 1967 to join the newly formed Religious Studies Department. A lifelong scholar, David focused primarily on the synoptic problem and images of Jesus in the Western world. He taught, studied and published extensively in the fields of biblical literature, early Christian history, the formation of the New Testament, environmental studies, and the legacy of the Vietnam War. He was a Distinguished Lindsay Young professor, a founding member of the Institute for the Renewal of Gospel Studies, and was awarded the Thomas Jefferson Faculty Prize at UT in 2000. He was invited to teach at the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome, Italy, in 1976-77 and again in 2005. David was passionate steward of the Earth. He felt strongly the responsibility we all have to care for the gift of life on this planet. David was a truly gifted teacher with a unique ability to inspire and encourage those who were fortunate enough to know him. He was a builder of tree houses, downhill racers and dreams, an inventor of toys, games, and family fun, a creator of friendships, communities and memories. He was an Eagle Scout at 16, and continued to share his knowledge of woodsmanship and scouting lore all his life. He taught us how to tie knots, keep our matches dry, camp in the snow, and hike in the Smoky Mountains. David loved swimming, sailing and canoeing, on lakes, mountain streams, or the ocean. Inexplicably, he was an ardent booster of British rules croquet in Knoxville. He helped found the Knoxville Croquet Club, converting his backyard into a croquet court and making his own mallets. He loved working with wood all his life from the woodshops of Berea College in Kentucky to his own basement workshop. David attended Westminster Presbyterian Church with his wife. Through the years, he enjoyed being a frequent guest teacher on a variety of subjects in many Knoxville churches. A memorial service for David will be held in Spring 2009 at Westminster Presbyterian Church. Donations may be made in David's memory to the Institute for the Renewal of Gospel Studies, care of Westminster Presbyterian Church, or to the organization of your choice.
Published in Knoxville News Sentinel on Dec. 5, 2008.
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