It is with great sadness, the family of Dr. Stephen H. Benedict, announce his passing. He was a beloved father, husband, and educator, who devoted his life to the world of science.
Steve was born on January 28, 1947, in Eastern Kentucky to Steve & Virginia (Hays) Benedict. He received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Kentucky, and was a member of the Track & Field team.
Like many men born in the 1940’s, Steve was drafted during the Vietnam War, and spent his service doing research at a blood lab in Fort Knox, KY. Although he told few people of his service, it was a time that defined his career, as he went on to earn a PhD in Microbiology from Vanderbilt University.
After graduation, he moved across the country for his post doctorate work at The University of Southern California, Keck Medical School, and then The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, Canada where he worked on cancer research. He later moved to Denver, Colorado to work at The National Jewish Center for Immunology and Respiratory Medicine to further his work on T-Cell related diseases. And in 1990, Dr. Benedict accepted a position as a professor at the University of Kansas, in Lawrence, Kansas.
During his tenure at KU, Dr. Benedict worked in the School of Pharmacy and then Department of Molecular Biosciences. His main focus at KU was research, as he worked with T-Cells and received grant funding to fight diseases like Arthritis, Cancer and Diabetes. He served as an appointed advisor for the Food and Drug Administration. In addition to his own research, he helped mold the studies of countless post graduate students who went on to work as scientists, Medical Doctors, Pharmacists, and Nurses all over the country. His students are his legacy.
He received countless educational awards at KU, including The Chancellors Club Teaching Professorship. He took pride in making sure his coveted class in immunology was different every year. He was known for his sarcastic sense of humor, signature black T-shirts, spot-on assessments, and unfiltered advice. Away from the lab, Dr. Benedict was a copious reader who enjoyed Chinese brush painting, poetry, fine wine, cooking shows, college basketball, and spending time with his family.
While a single father in Toronto, Canada, Dr. Benedict met the love of his life, fellow scientist, Dr. Marci Chan. The couple was married 32 years and raised two amazing daughters.
Dr. Benedict was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer in 2018. Through surgery, chemo, and continuing to teach, he put up a valiant fight. But in the end, cancer won this battle. Steve died at Lawrence Memorial Hospital with his wife and two daughters by his side.
He is survived by his wife, Marci, his daughter Angela Benedict Smith and her husband Steve, his youngest daughter Joy Benedict, his two grandchildren Gavin (11) and Harper (9) Smith, and his pets Jasper and Millie.
Dr. Stephen Benedict will be remembered during a celebration of life service January 18, 2020, in Lawrence, Kansas.
Memorial contributions may be made in his name to the Visiting Nurses Hospice and may be sent in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.