Gordon “Tom” Dickinson – Omega

Gordon “Tom” Dickinson ’71 ΣΛ5, passed away on April 13, 2020 at the age of 72. Tom was the spouse of Brenda Dickinson and they shared 42 years of marriage together.

Tom was one of the brothers who formed the Sigma Lambda Zeta of Lambda Chi Alpha when the fraternity voted to become a colony. He was the fifth Sig Tau initiated into the new colony.

He graduated with a degree in architecture in 1971 and was a lifelong entrepreneur.

Please read more about Tom’s life here.

Doc Benoit – Omega

Robert E. “Doc” Benoit passed away on November 18, 2020.

Doc joined the Virginia Tech faculty in 1962, was inducted into Tech’s Academy of Teaching Excellence in 2002 as he received the William E. Wine Award, and was also recognized by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching as Virginia Professor of the Year. He served as pre-med advisor, mentoring the next generation of scientists who have become distinguished teachers, researchers, physicians, dentists, pharmacists, veterinarians, and other health professionals.

Doc became convinced of the value of of the Greek system when he became a brother of Lambda Iota Society, the University of Vermont’s first Greek community and the oldest local student society in the nation.

Joe Kincheloe invited Doc so serve as faculty advisor to Sigma Omega Tau in 1965 and he served our fraternity continually since that time. He guided our transition to Lambda Chi Alpha and remained a role model, advisor, and mentor for 55 years, guiding over 500 brothers to become contributing members of their communities. At our 60th reunion, Woody Kessler presented Doc with a Resolution of Appreciation from Governor Ralph S. Northam.

Doc was born in Enosburg, Vermont. He attended a one-room school in Enosburg Center with teachers exacting some of the highest standards of public school education.

He was a lifelong learner and earned the following degrees in order to prepare his future students:

  • 1956 B.S. Agronomy, University of Vermont
  • 1960 M.S. Soil Physics, Rutgers University
  • 1964 Ph.D. Environmental Microbiology, Rutgers University

For 40 years, Doc and his students pursued their interests in microbial ecology of subsurface ecosystems, physiology of microaerophilic and psychrophilic bacteria, and microbial degradation of recalcitrant natural products and synthetic compounds. One of his more rewarding career experiences has been inspiring students as a teacher in such classes as General Microbiology, Microbiology of Aquatic Systems, and Biomedical Ethics. His dedication to teaching these and other classes, as well as advising, has led to numerous awards: Biology Department Teaching (1996), Biology Department Advising (1996,1997), Alumni University Teaching Award (1984), Arts & Sciences Teaching Excellence Award (1977, 1978, 1979, 1980, 1984), Wine Award (2002). Doc served on the Academy of Teaching Excellence continuously since 1984. In 2002 he was also awarded the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Virginia Professor of the Year. In the Biology Department, he served as Assistant Professor of Microbiology (1962-66), Associate Professor of Microbiology (1966-2002), and Assistant Biology Department Head (1992-2002). Doc was promoted to Associate Professor Emeritus in 2002.

After retirement, he continued teaching General Microbiology and Biomedical Ethics, as well as participating annually in the American Society of Microbiologists In addition to his continued involvement with the fraternity, he was also active with the Blacksburg Master Chorale, Opera Roanoke and was a Trustee of Montgomery-Floyd Regional Library. (Source: Virginia Tech Department of Biological Sciences)

Click for more information on Lambda Iota.

Please read his obituary.

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Mark Keffer – Omega

Mark Taylor Keffer ’83 ΣΛ132, of Yorktown, died on Sunday April 19th at the age of 60. Mark was preceded in death by his mother, Barbara Keffer and is survived by his father, Clarence “Pete” Keffer, his sisters Kasey Keffer and Kelly Westmoreland and husband Larry Westmoreland, and two nephews, Tyler Castaneda and Daniel Westmoreland.

Following graduation, Mark pursued a career in Finance. He also followed his passion as an artist.

There will be no funeral services. Mark chose not to be remembered in death but in life through his relationships with the people he left behind who greatly love him. He was a wonderful son, a loving brother, an incredible uncle, and a great fraternity brother. A beautiful person who possessed an enormous amount of intelligence, a generous heart and soul, humor, amazing artistic creativity, and love. He will be greatly missed. Arrangements by Amory Funeral Home, Yorktown, Va.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.

Mike Stoner – Omega

Michael W. Stoner ’63 passed away on April 21, 2020 following a long battle with MDS. Mike graduated with a Bachelor of Architecture degree and served in the US Navy following his graduation from Officer Candidate School. Mike retired as an architect in 2012 in Hagerstown, MD. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Please read more about Mike here.

Dick Buskell – Omega

Richard P. Buskell ’65 passed away on April 7, 2020. Dick was instrumental in successfully securing financing for our house at 413 E. Roanoke Street at a time when banks would lend money to undergraduate fraternities! Dick was CEO of Spectrum Development in Vienna, Virginia, responsible for managing all aspects of the firm’s development projects, including property acquisitions, entitlements, legal, accounting, site engineering, and construction. Dick received a B.S. in accounting from Virginia Tech University and a J.D. from the Georgetown University School of Law. He was a Certified Public Accountant and had been admitted to the Virginia Bar. Prior to beginning his career in real estate, Dick was a founding partner at two DC law firms, and was a partner and senior tax accountant at a nationally recognized accounting firm. Given our current public health crisis, the family has not announced plans for a memorial service.