Bud Christopher Tennant(1933 - 2016)

Tennant, Bud Christopher

Bud Christopher Tennant of Ithaca, New York passed away on November 16th, 2016 in Rochester, following complications from pneumonia. He was 83 years old. Born November 10, 1933 in Burbank, California to Christopher and Golda Tennant, Bud was raised in the sagebrush hills of the western San Joaquin Valley where his father was a foreman in the oil fields of the Kettleman North Dome Association. He was graduated from Avenal High School and attended San Jose State University, where he was a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity. He was graduated from the University of California at Davis with honors. As a student he worked for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission at the Nevada Proving Grounds test site northwest of Las Vegas, collecting animal specimens that were used to monitor radioactivity found in the environment. After receiving his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from the University of California at Davis in 1959, he briefly practiced equine veterinary medicine at several California racetracks including Hollywood Park Racetrack in Inglewood.

From 1960-1961 Bud served as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army Veterinary Corps. One of his notable assignments was working with the primates of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration's Project Mercury. From 1960-1962, under the direction of Dr. Stanley M. Levenson, his clinical research focused on wound healing which he first pursued in the Division of Basic Surgical Research, Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington, D.C. and later in the Germfree Research Program in the Department of Surgery at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. It was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center that he met dietitian and commissioned officer, Captain Priscilla (Trayers) Tennant, whom he married in 1963.

Bud served on the faculty of University of California at Davis School of Veterinary Medicine from 1962-1972, and as an Associate Veterinarian in the Experiment Station. In 1968-1969 he was a Research Fellow in Medicine in the Gastrointestinal Unit at Boston's Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1972 he moved to Ithaca, New York after he was appointed Professor of Comparative Gastroenterology at the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine, where he later served as Professor and Chief of Medicine (1977-1989). In 1979-1980 he was a Visiting Scholar at the Medical Research Council, Dunn Clinical Nutrition Centre at the University of Cambridge, England. He was a Visiting Professor in the Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology at Georgetown University School of Medicine in Rockville, Maryland (1990-1991). In 2013 he retired from Cornell University as the James Law Professor of Comparative Medicine, a title he was given in 1989. As Emeritus Professor he remained active in clinical research, returning to equine medicine and investigating the pathogenesis of serum hepatitis in horses.

Bud's professional career was devoted to comparative medicine and collaborative research. His clinical interests were in gastrointestinal and liver diseases of domestic animals, viral hepatitis, mechanisms of hepatic injury and hepatocarcinogenesis. For over thirty years his laboratory at Cornell was responsible for the development and operation of a colony of woodchucks for the study of Woodchuck Hepatitis Virus infection, which is closely related to human Hepatitis B Virus. His work in viral-induced liver disease using this model has had a predictive influence on clinical therapeutic trials in humans, and today this project continues at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, New York. He served as principle investigator on a number of research grants, and his laboratory received uninterrupted support from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. During his career he authored or co-authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and more than 50 invited papers published in proceedings of meetings or as chapters in textbooks, and he was an editorial reviewer for: Nature Medicine, Hepatology, Journal of Virology, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. In 1991, with his wife Priscilla Tennant, he co-founded Marmotech, Inc., a biotechnology company involved in the discovery, development, and preclinical assessment of molecular strategies for treatment of human Hepatitis B virus infection.

Bud served on countless university committees and on various state, national and international boards. He was a consultant and advisor for government agencies, foreign universities and private corporations, and was an active member of several professional societies and recognized for his involvement in the organizational and promotional aspects of his profession. A member of Sigma Xi, The Scientific Research Society, he was elected to membership in the National Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi in 1955 and to Phi Zeta, The Honor Society of Veterinary Medicine, in 1959. He spent the summer of 1965 in Santiago, Chile, as a consultant for the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1969 he was an invited participant of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition and Health. He was board-certified by the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine in 1973, an organization he helped to found. He received the Alumni Achievement Award from the School of Veterinary Medicine, University of California at Davis in 1986. He was elected to membership in the National Academies of Practice (Veterinary Medicine) in 1986, and was elected Foreign Academic in the Real Academia de Ciencias Veterinarias, Madrid, Spain in 1991. In 1999 the New York State College of Veterinary Medicine awarded him the Robert W. Kirk Distinguished Service Award for his many contributions to veterinary internal medicine, and in 2002, the New York State Veterinary Medical Society formally acknowledged his outstanding service to veterinary medicine. In 2016 he was awarded the Baruch S. Blumberg Prize by the Hepatitis B Foundation for his contributions to the field and his tireless efforts on behalf of the foundation.

Bud was a man of high integrity, whose commitment to his personal and professional responsibilities never waivered. Throughout his life, he was an instrumental mentor and played a vital role in the professional lives of many as a motivator, a constructive critic, and a confidant who quickly became a valued friend. Widely respected for his generosity, he was a loyal advocate for those with whom he worked, including administrators and junior faculty. He was a towering physical presence, yet soft spoken and humble, and he was greatly admired for his good nature and his ability to share a story on just about any topic. As a boy he enjoyed hunting trips with his parents in the Sierra Mountains, and as a father, he enjoyed camping trips and fishing for wild salmon in Alaska's Kenai Peninsula. His enthusiasm for science was equaled only by his love of arts and culture--from Marc Chagall to Keith Haring, Willie Nelson to Thelonious Monk. As a young man he immersed himself in opera, which he later enjoyed with Priscilla as an attendee of both live performances and simulcast programs. Among friends and family he was known to be a fair to middlin' guitarist who also had fun with the harmonica. He delighted in performing magic, claiming his ideal audience was aged three and under. A devoted grandfather, Bud enjoyed sharing his love of art with his older granddaughters through "art lessons" and more recently, shared his love of music with his youngest granddaughter, forwarding along links to his favorite songs in eloquent emails. In 2014 he and Priscilla moved to Kendal at Ithaca, where he enjoyed its many cultural offerings and conversations over meals with an expanded circle of friends. He deeply loved his family and friends, who will miss him beyond measure.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 53 years, Priscilla Tennant of Ithaca, NY; his children Christopher Tennant of Watkins Glen, NY, Priscilla Tennant of Yardley, PA, and Carolyn Tennant and his son-in-law John Thomas Rinker of Buffalo, NY; his granddaughters, Courtney Tennant, Devon Tennant, and Matilda Rinker-Tennant; his brother, Robert J. Tennant and sister-in-law Irene (Morris) Tennant of San Jose, CA; many nieces and nephews; countless friends. The family would like to extend its deepest appreciation to Dr. John Costello for his many years of care, guidance and friendship. A private internment will be held at the family's convenience. A celebration of Bud's life will be held at Kendal at Ithaca on January 28, 2017 at 2pm. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bud's memory to the Hepatitis B Foundation, 3805 Old Easton Road, Doylestown, PA 18902 or a charity of your choosing. For more information, please contact Bangs Funeral Home (607) 272-1922.

Funeral Home

Bangs Funeral Home, Inc. - Ithaca
209 W Green St. Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 272-1922

Published in Ithaca Journal from Nov. 29, 2016 to Jan. 25, 2017