Robert William Benortham, 83, Carbondale: Feb. 28, 1940 – Nov. 21, 2023 – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Robert William Benortham, 83, Carbondale: Feb. 28, 1940 – Nov. 21, 2023

CARBONDALE, Kan. – Robert William Benortham, 83, of Carbondale, Kan., passed into glory Nov. 21, 2023. He was born Feb. 28, 1940, at Christ’s Hospital, Topeka, Kan., the son of Fredrick William Benortham and Madeline Lillian (Skonberg) Benortham.

He lived his first five years at 701 Cambridge St. (near the zoo), in Topeka, KS. He moved with his family to a farm near Harveyville, Kan., where his Dad farmed and his mother was a homemaker.

Robert attended Harveyville Grade School, which was just down the road from the farm. He walked to school but occasionally rode a Shetland pony with a neighbor girl. He graduated from Harveyville Rural High School with the class of 1958.

Robert earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Emporia State University. He completed a Master’s in Chemistry from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1966, and a Ph.D. in horticultural science from Kansas State University in 1972. He also took additional course work at Washburn University and the University of Hawaii.

In 1962, he began his professional career in teaching at Topeka West High School. He taught biology and chemistry for 37 years. He also was a swim coach at Topeka West High School. He continued teaching chemistry for another 15 years for Allen County Community College, in Burlingame, Kan. He taught science courses in the evenings at Calvary Bible College, in Grandview, Mo., for seven years. He was able to do this because he had a pilot’s license and was able to fly from Topeka to the Richard-Gebauer Airfield. The last few years of his teaching career included being a substitute teacher with Santa Fe Trail USD 434.

Dr. Bob was awarded “Outstanding Teacher” and “Who’s Who” among Teachers. He later authored two lab manuals, one for physical science and the other for biological science.

On Oct. 16, 1971, at the Topeka Bible Church, Topeka, he was united in marriage to Amy Lucille “Lucy” Tichenor. They spent 49 years together serving the Lord in teaching Sunday school, working in the children’s AWANA program, and being involved with music and activities at Overbrook Bible Church, Overbrook, Kan., before her passing on Nov. 21, 2020. Both Robert and Lucy were active in the Gideon ministry, where they both served in various leadership positions at the local and state level. They even spent a short period of time on a summer missions project in Guatemala. Robert started playing piano and organ at age 14 and served as organist for two Topeka churches before moving to Overbrook.

Dr. Bob and Lucy started and operated a small greenhouse and florist business for 20 years near Overbrook. They loved being outside gardening together and spending time with their grandchildren. In the summer they would host a “Grandpa and Grandma Camp” for their granddaughters. Dr. Bob ran 5K runs and marathons throughout the country. He ran his first marathon at age 60. He especially loved running with his grandkids.

Dr. Benortham was preceded in death by his parents, Fred and Madeline Benortham; and his wife, Lucy Benortham.

He is survived by his daughter, Sara Smith and her husband, David, of St. Joseph, Mo.; a brother, Thomas Benortham and his wife, Liz, Topeka; three sisters-in-law, Nora Lovely and her husband, Dan, Norwalk, Iowa, Karla Alkire, Derby, Kan., and Mary Shipps and her husband, Steve, Topeka; three granddaughters, Joscelyn, Nikola and Kyla; and many nieces and nephews.

To celebrate Dr. Bob’s life, a memorial service will be 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Overbrook Bible Church, 719 Western Heights Drive, Overbrook, KS 66524. The family will receive friends before the service at 10 a.m. at the church.

Memorial contributions can be made to The Gideons International or Overbrook Bible Church and sent in care of Lamb-Roberts-Price Funeral Home, PO Box 268, Overbrook, KS 66524. Condolences can be left at

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