Obituary Details

David Edward Guinnup

February 10, 1953 - July 3, 2019

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Notes

David Edward Guinnup, 66, of Durham NC, passed on July 3, 2019 with family and close friends by his side. David courageously faced a glioblastoma multiforme brain tumor beginning in December 2017. He was born on February 10, 1953 in Indianapolis to Daniel W. and Lois Edwards Guinnup.

David had a Quaker upbringing, which was reflected in his deep commitment to simplicity, peace, integrity, community, and equality. Those same values led him to earn the rank of Eagle Scout in high school and become a conscientious objector during the Vietnam War.

David spent his childhood in Indianapolis, Indiana where he discovered his love of golf at an early age from his father and maternal grandfather, Carleton. He attended Indianapolis North Central High School, where he played varsity golf, beating Billy Kratzert, future PGA golfer and announcer, in the first round of the Indiana Boys State Junior Championship during the summer of 1969. David also qualified for the USGA Amateur Public Links Championship in 1973, as one of three players representing his home state.

David began piano lessons at age five, fell in love with music, and continued to play with great joy throughout his life. He employed his musical talents and piano skills in a variety of venues and events, including U-Sing at Purdue University, the “Glee Club,” the Parkwood Christmas Parade, the Aquarians Birthday Party, the annual Holiday party, a variety of EPA OAQPS parties and gatherings, and innumerable sing-alongs around his or any available piano.

Before earning a BS in Chemistry in 1975 from Purdue University, David joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, where he developed many life-long friendships. With some of his Sig Ep brothers, he co-founded the “Little Kings Open,” a whimsical annual golf “tournament” that is little more than an excuse for a reunion -- although the winner does (by popular vote) receive a crown and scepter for the year. The LKO fosters mediocre golf, cold Little Kings beers, and much brotherly love. The brothers have continued to gather for over 40 years all over the country, and David played a key part of each reunion.

Born curious and naturally-gifted in academics (and most other things), David continued his education by earning an MS in Chemistry at Purdue in 1976 and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Michigan in 1981.

David was married in 1980 to Jean Bondie and they moved with her daughter, Susan, to Raleigh, where David began his career at NC State University as a professor of Chemical Engineering. Their son, Christopher, was born in 1981. David had a talent for explaining complex information that made it easier to understand. Although his formal teaching career was brief, he was a natural teacher throughout his life. David settled into his career with the Environmental Protection Agency in 1987. Most of his time with the EPA was as a group leader within the Office of Air Quality Planning and Standards (OAQPS). There, his teams of scientists, engineers, and statisticians focused on preserving and improving air quality in the United States through the Clean Air Act’s regulatory framework. He retired from the Agency in 2012.

David was a fun-loving and light-hearted man. Be it with his fraternity brothers at the annual Little Kings Open events or with friends gathering around his home and pool, David surrounded himself with friends and loved ones. He had a laugh that was contagious and a gift for making anyone in his presence feel special. He had a unique and brilliantly keen wit and was ever the optimist.

David enjoyed opening his home as a safe and welcoming place where friends could gather and celebrate as queer community. Certainly comfortable in his own skin, he offered love and support to many struggling with self-doubt, loneliness, and other demons large and small. Simply being with David and the amazing community he fostered made life better for many people during the two decades the tradition thrived.

Earlier in 2019, David was named a saint by the local order of The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence -- a charity, protest, and street performance organization that uses drag and religious imagery to call attention to sexual intolerance and satirizes issues of gender and morality. The Sisters are an international network of orders that raise money for LGBT-related causes and mainstream community service organizations.
The Sisters confer sainthood upon people who have served the greater LGBT community in significant ways. To honor David’s contributions to the community, The Sisters named him “Saint David of the Body-Positive Waters.”

Providing care for a cancer patient takes a village, and many people within David’s life were called to help on his journey. A core group of friends -- Team David -- helped him through his many months of treatment. Many other people in his life shared food, cards, photos and visits during this time. The caregivers at the Tisch Brain Tumor Center, Duke University Medical Center, and Duke Homecare & Hospice provided outstanding and conscientious care. His hospice nurse Melissa provided loving care and much laughter. David was gracious and grateful for all the help, care, and love he received.

David was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents and is survived by his son, Christopher Guinnup (wife Patricia) of Saline MI; Chris’ mother, Jean Bondie, also of Saline; his step-daughter, Susan Tyson of Wilmington, NC; his sister, Joyce Guinnup (partner, Jo Watson) of Indianapolis; his lover and long-time companion, Bradford Taylor of Cary NC; and his beloved cat, “Boots,” who wandered up to his new home with David on Thanksgiving Day 2014.

Donations in David’s name can be made to The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence (https://www.thesisters.org/donate) or Angels Among Us (https://tischbraintumorcenter.duke.edu/donate), a national charity that supports brain tumor research at the Center where David received treatment.

A private memorial service will be held, and in August, at his home, a celebration of David’s life and spirit will include those who knew David and whose lives were enriched by his love.
Posted by:
Archive
Posted on:
September 17, 2019
Memories Album: At my Roy Smith's retirement party, 2010
Posted by:
Roy Smith
Posted on:
September 17, 2019
Dave was the best boss I ever had, and a good friend as well. If he was present in a meeting, sensible things were said and usually done; if he ran the meeting, then the meeting was a success, every time. His personality contained a unique blend of humor, common sense, and work ethic that got things done and caused it to be fun to do them.

Handicapped by deafness as I was, he understood completely and always had my back. One day my frustration with yet another mumbled phone call boiled over, and I hung up a bit, um, vigorously. The entire face of the phone console caved in. I sheepishly walked it into Dave's office and said, "There seems to be something wrong with my phone." Dave took one look, instantly visualized what had happened, roared with laughter as he often did, and said, "Well, it's obviously defective. I'll see that you get a new one." And then he worked out a deal with management that let me substitute emails for phone calls.

I mourn his passing, and I will not forget him.
Posted by:
Roy Smith
Posted on:
September 17, 2019
1 file added to the tribute wall
Posted by:
Chet Wayland
Posted on:
August 23, 2019
Dave was one of the most caring and compassionate individuals I ever knew. I enjoyed working with him and EPA and greatly enjoyed the times we played golf. His Little Kings Open stories had us laughing through the entire round of golf. Dave was a great teacher and incredibly patient with us who were newer employees when we arrived at EPA. He was truly unique and one that we will never forget. Thanks Dave for bringing some joy and humor into our lives and for being the person you were.
Posted by:
Roy Huntley
Posted on:
August 13, 2019
Dave was one of my instructors at NCSU. I had him for two courses there. I was a returning student so i was older than most and i figured out somehow that he and were the same age. He was a very good teacher and i always felt it was a shame that he did not stay at NCSU as a professor, but when i saw him at EPA, when i ended up, i was very happy. Always good to see EPA hire really good really smart people. And he was both. I never really worked with Dave while at EPA, but i did spend some time singing Christmas
carols beside him. He could sign a lot better than me, so i just followed him!
So sorry Dave died too soon.
Roy Huntley
Posted by:
Kathy Kaufman
Posted on:
August 13, 2019
I worked with Dave at OAQPS and have so many fond memories of him over the years. He was a great guy - smart, wickedly funny, and talented in so many directions. I still chuckle remembering an air toxics conference back in the mid-90s, with several hundred state government folks in the audience. Dave was at the front playing a wacky federal scientist. with an unintelligible morass of numbers on a big screen, and he was wacking on the screen with a big pointer, looking down his glasses and saying, "...as you can plainly see...". We were all doubled over in laughter. It's hard to believe he's no longer here.
-Kathy Kaufman
Posted by:
John S. Seitz
Posted on:
August 13, 2019
I had the honor to work with Dave at OAQPS. Dave was a great guy to work with and a valued member of the OAQPS family. He will be missed.

John Seitz
Posted by:
john bosch
Posted on:
August 12, 2019
I’m so glad I worked in OAQPS with you, Dave, and here’s wishing you a safe journey home.

John bosch
Posted by:
Bob Fegley
Posted on:
August 12, 2019
I was one of those EPA folks who worked with Dave a lot, even though I was in DC and he was down in North Carolina. Over the course of spending a career at a place like EPA, you run into a lot of folks, some of whom are a pain in the neck, others who are a joy to work with. Dave was solidly in the latter camp. In a fairly political workplace where folks often have hidden agendas, Dave was always honest, smart and straightforward. He was also just fun to talk to -- we'd often go off on tangents about music, our lives, etc. I miss him.
Posted by:
George Woodall
Posted on:
August 9, 2019
I was a work colleague of Dave but more importantly I counted him as a friend.
He was a true diplomat at work. More than once, I witnessed his calm manner smooth things out when discussions got contentious, helping to refocus on the truly important issues. Sometimes the result was an agreement to disagree but he helped get us there in a civil manner.
It was a pleasure to know Dave. I will miss his quick wit, his easy sense of humor, and his positive outlook on life, which seemed to carry through to the end. Happy trails, my friend!
Posted by:
John Bradfield
Posted on:
August 9, 2019
What a lovely obit for someone who was so special to so many. I was a colleague, briefly, before David retired from EPA. I didn't know him well but I can say one thing. Every room he walked into got smarter when he entered it. He had that effect on people; when he spoke people just started thinking clearly. It was an inspiring thing to participate in. For those of you that were close, I have great sympathy for your loss and share your joy that his suffering is over. John Bradfield.
Posted by:
Melissa McCullough
Posted on:
August 8, 2019
My favorite memories of Dave are of him hamming it up at the OAQPS holiday party. A joyful soul!
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