Howard C. “Nugget” Dunn, Jr – Omega

Sigma Omega Tau Founder, Nugget Dunn, age 82, of Gales Ferry, Connecticut passed away on Wednesday, September 8, 2021. Nugget was born July 19, 1939.

Professor Emeritus Howard Dunn retired as an instructor at the United States Coast Guard Academy on September 5, 2008. He served on the faculty for 30 years, including three years as head of the Academy’s engineering department. Dunn received a doctorate in civil engineering in 1974 from The Pennsylvania State University. He earned undergraduate and master’s degrees in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University in 1964 and 1965. Dunn was a retired lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserve.

Dunn served the academy in several positions through the years. He was dean of academics from 2003 to 2004, head of the department of engineering from 2000 to 2003, head of the civil engineering section from 1990 to 2000, associate dean of academics from 1982 to 1984, and assistant dean of academics from 1981 to 1982. While at the academy, Dunn received the George C. Wadlin Award for distinguished service to civil engineering education in 2004 and the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 2005.

Nugget was a member of the University of Connecticut Sea Grant Senior Advisory Board, the Three Rivers Community College Regional Advisory Council and the Gales Ferry School Building Committee. He served as chairman of the New Emergency Services Building Construction Committee in Ledyard.

Upon his retirement, Nugget stated, “Teachers act as facilitators. I think I’ve influenced a whole lot of graduates. When cadets come in and say you’ve had an influence, that’s real nice.”

Christian Walter Hammerle – Omega

Chris Hammerle, 50, of Virginia Beach, Virginia passed away in his home on July 29, 2018. He was born in Rockford, Illinois to Walter and Charlotte Hammerle. A graduate of Norfolk Academy (1985), Chris earned a Bachelors of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering from Virginia Tech in 1989. Chis then worked for more than 25 years at American GFM in Chesapeake.

In his spare time, Chis enjoyed spending time with friends, fishing and tossing horseshoes. Chris had an infectious laugh, especially when he beat his dad in a game of backgammon or was sharing a good time with a friend. Some of his best times were spent fishing on the Chesapeake Bay and at Lake Smith in his own backyard.

Please click here to read more about Chris.

Kyle John Facada – Omega

Kyle Facada ’08 ΣΛ546, passed away on Wednesday, April 14, 2021. Kyle graduated from Tech in 2008 and later received a Master’s degree in business from Georgetown University. As his friend Jeanie Bell Winslow wrote, “Kyle was just one of those guys that you liked instantly. He always greeted me with a beautiful smile and a twinkle in his eye. We enjoyed bantering back and forth, always in good fun with lots of laughter.”

Please read more about Kyle’s life here.

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.