School 13

Dr. Avery Jake Dennis

August 25, 1936 ~ June 23, 2021 (age 84)


Dr. Avery Jake Dennis, age 84, of Carthage, passed away on Wednesday, June 23, 2021 at his home.

Dr. Dennis was born in Franklin County, NC on August 25, 1936 to the late George Avery and Hazel Lea Dennis. He was a native of Louisburg, NC. He graduated from W.R. Mills High in 1954 where he lettered in both golf and basketball for three years and was president of his senior class. He graduated cum laude from Louisburg College where he was on the dean’s list and a member of Phi Theta Kappa and the chemistry honor society Alpha Beta Gamma. He attended Wake Forest University in its first year in Winston-Salem where he was on the dean’s list and was a member of the math honor society Kappa Mu Epsilon. He graduated with honors with a B.S. in chemistry from N.C. State University in 1958 where he was on the dean’s list and received the Merck Award as the top chemistry graduate. He continued his studies at N.C. State receiving a M.S. in organic chemistry and was selected as a member of the research honor society Sigma Xi. At that time N.C. State did not have a Ph.D program in chemistry. From 1960-1964 he taught chemistry and math at Louisburg College. In 1964 he entered UNC-Chapel Hill as a NSF Science Faculty Fellow. He received his Ph.D in organic chemistry from UNC-CH where he was also a Dupont Fellow and NIH Special Fellow. He was supervisor of General Chemistry lab instructors in 1965-66 and general chemistry lecturer 1967-68. In 1968 he returned to Louisburg College as chairman of the chemistry department. In 1969 he joined Sandhills Community College in Pinehurst as professor of chemistry and chairman of the science department positions held until his retirement in 1999. He received the C.F. Brown Distinguished Professorship in 1972, the Katherine Boyd Distinguished Professorship in 1984 and 1987, and the First Union Excellence in Teaching in 1989. The annual chemistry award is named in his honor. He was a consultant for the National Center for Resource Recovery, National Atmospheric Deposition Program, National Science Foundation, Southern Association of Universities and Colleges, Shell Chemical, Pinehurst Surgical Clinic, Mid Carolina Urology, and UNC Board of Governors.

He loved golf especially the time on and off the course with his golf buddies. He first shot his age at 73. He was an accomplished craftsman with his petal craft shown in the 1980s and 1990s at numerous exhibits and craft shows.

His death was preceded by his parents, Hazel and George Dennis and wife, Carolyn Dennis. He is survived by his sister Alice Kennedy and husband Graham of Raleigh; daughter, Della Dennis of Pinehurst; sons, Matt Dennis and wife Shelley of Spring Hope, Derek Dennis and wife Andrea of Hendersonville, George Dennis and wife Tracy of Whispering Pines; grandchildren, Diana Dennis, Tyler Dennis, and Violet Dennis.

Memorials may be made to Sandhills Community College, 3395 Airport Road, Pinehurst, NC 28374.

It was his wish that there be no funeral or memorial service.

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