William Benton Guenther

by Lynn McMillen
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Dr. William Benton Guenther Dr. William Benton Guenther, age 92, formerly of Sewanee, died peacefully on Thursday, February 25, 2021 at Bailey Manor in Winchester. He was an F.B. Williams Professor of Chemistry, Emeritus at the University of the South, Sewanee.

He was the son of the late William Paul Guenther and Mary Benton (Guenther) Butterworth of Lynchburg, VA and was pre-deceased by his sister, Jane Guenther Williams, and her husband, Mason B. Williams, of Barrington, RI, and his niece, Pamela (Henry) Aubrey of Portland, OR. He leaves behind three nieces, Diane Dawn Williams of Portland, OR, Holly Williams, of Waltham, MA, and Jennifer (Williams) Lecomte of Rehoboth, MA. He had four grand nephews and three grand nieces.

Graduating from Oberlin College at age 19, he received his B.A. in Chemistry, followed by his M.S. and PhD in Physical Chemistry from the University of Rochester. After a few years teaching in Alaska, he settled in Sewanee, TN, where he remained thereafter.

Dr. Guenther, known affectionately as “Professor”, authored three textbooks, published many research articles, and frequently wrote for the Journal of Chemical Education. In his last book, Unified Equilibrium Calculations, he showed that many single-element equilibrium calculations could be unified into a single concept with a single, master variable. This simplified the way chemists made complete equations for mixtures, leading to faster innovations in creating new materials. He was Chair of the Chemistry Department and active with the American Chemical Society, the EQB Club, and Chair of the Concert Committee at the University.

In his spare time, Bill enjoyed the solitude of his acoustically designed home, where he listened to his favorite classical music. He played the piano daily and built his own harpsichord. He kept in touch with family, inspiring them with his fabulous recipes and articles about his many interests.
Interment will be at the University Cemetery, where a private burial will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Alzheimer’s Association at www.alz.org.
Moore-Cortner Funeral Home, 300 First Ave NW, Winchester, TN 37398, (931)-967-2222

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