T. Benny Rushing, beloved husband, father, and friend and respected professor of mathematics, passed away on August 29, 1998 in Salt Lake City.
Benny was born October 30, 1941, in Marshville, North Carolina to Thomas and Christine Rushing. He grew up in Marshville and on June 17, 1962 married his childhood sweetheart, Gail, who became his lifelong companion. He was a constant and loving husband and together they had two children, Susan and Thomas. The family's household was enriched by Benny's offbeat sense of fun, unending curiosity, appreciation of music and nature, love of travel and belief in the value of education. Benny's professional life was marked by excellence and service. After graduating from Wake Forest University with B.A. and M.A. degrees in mathematics, he received a Ph.D. in mathematics in 1968 from the University of Georgia, where he was appointed Assistant Professor. In 1969 he accepted a position at the University of Utah, where he quickly rose through the ranks, playing a key role in building the Mathematics Department into one that is now acclaimed nationally and internationally. Author of Topological Embeddings, a graduate textbook, and over thirty research articles, speaker at many national and international conferences, Benny was an admired teacher of both undergraduate and graduate students, eight of whom received their Ph.D. degrees under his direction. Known for his wit, diplomacy and fairness, as well as for his pursuit of excellence, Benny was a member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, New Jersey and served as Chair of the Mathematics Department of the University of Utah from 1985 to 1988 and again from 1991 to 1993. In 1993 he was appointed Dean of the College of Science, and served effectively in that position with selfless devotion and remarkable energy despite the illness that ultimately took his life. His family, friends and colleagues appreciated his courage, integrity, devotion and gentle southern humor. He is an inspiration to all who knew him.Benny is survived by his wife, Gail Rushing; daughter, Susan Rushing; and son, Tom Rushing; brother, David Rushing; and four grandchildren, Charles and Nicholas Windolf; and Christopher and Megan Rushing. A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. on Thursday, September 3rd at Red Butte Garden and Arboretum Visitors Center (at the end of Wakara Way and Research Park).
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to the T. Benny and Gail T. Rushing Graduate Fellowship Fund in Mathematics. Contributions should be sent to the University of Utah Development Office, 304 Park Building, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah 84112.
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