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Benjamin J. Danzo

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NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE — Benjamin J. Danzo joined his parents and two brothers in Heaven on January 6, 2021. His passing was due to complications of COVID-19.

He was born in East Liverpool, OH on November 24, 1941, the son of Nellie and Antonio Danzo. Upon graduation from St. Aloysius School, he followed a call from God and enrolled in the Seminary of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers (Catholic Foreign Mission Society of America). In 1959, after two-and-a-half years at Seminary, Ben returned to East Liverpool to graduate from East Liverpool High School.

Always striving for more education, he attended and graduated from the Ohio Valley Business College, which prepared him to work in the office at Crucible Steel in Midland, PA. To pursue his love of science, Ben left the work force and enrolled in the College of Steubenville, from where he graduated in 1965. His next educational pursuit was met by obtaining a Master’s Degree in Biology in 1967 from the University of Arkansas. With this degree he was able to return to the College of Steubenville as a Biology Instructor, and he held that position until 1969 when he decided to seek a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan. To the disbelief of his advisors, Ben completed his course work, research, and dissertation in two years (a process that usually took four to six years) and became Dr. Benjamin J. Danzo. Pursuant to his hunger for scientific discovery, he accepted a Post Doctorate position at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN.

Eventually, he started and operated his own research laboratory at Vanderbilt where he taught Biochemistry for the next 33 years and was well respected by his students and colleagues. During that period, his research and publications in scientific journals and textbook chapters brought him world-wide recognition. When he retired from Vanderbilt in 2004, Ben was honored by being named Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology as well as Research Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry.

In his retirement years Ben traveled extensively to many countries in Europe, the Middle East and South America. On these journeys he particularly enjoyed visiting churches and places of historical significance.

At his home Ben was an avid gardener. He always had an enviable vegetable garden which he reluctantly shared with the many squirrels that frequented his yard. His flowers and ornamentals were second to none. Over the years he beautified his gardens with a series of natural stone walls and other stone features that he built himself. Due to his Italian heritage, he held an innate ability to design and construct these stone works himself.

Ben was a voracious reader. His personal library was extensive: Books of all subjects and genres served as a backdrop to his home. At one time, he had to have all his books removed from his house so a contractor could come in to sturdy up the floors so more bookcases could be built.

When he wasn’t in the garden or reading you would find him in the kitchen cooking one of his Italian specialties or baking his hardy Italian bread. He took his love of cooking to a new level when he purchased an existing Italian restaurant in Nashville and named it Danzo’s. Danzo’s had a Cheers-like atmosphere and served made-from-scratch Italian favorites. Often, country music stars would be seen dining there.

Ben is survived by his sister Phyllis (Lester) Hickman of East Liverpool, brother Tony (Cindy) of Dennison, OH, sister-in-law Kay Danzo of Brookfield, OH and many nieces, great nieces, nephews and great nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and brothers Frank and Dominic. He also left behind countless friends and colleagues at Vanderbilt and throughout the scientific community.

Ben lived his life based on the Motto he learned while under the instruction of the Maryknoll Fathers and Brothers: “To those who love God all things work together for good.”

To you Ben, your family, friends and colleagues say: REQUIESCE IN PACE.

Arrangements for services have been entrusted to Dawson Funeral Home, East Liverpool, OH. Burial will be at St. Elizabeth Cemetery in Wellsville, OH.

View Benjamin’s memorial webpage and express condolences online at www.dawsonfuneralhome.com

1/9/21