Cover photo for Daniel D. Konowalow's Obituary
Daniel D. Konowalow Profile Photo
1929 Dan 2024

Daniel D. Konowalow

April 28, 1929 — May 10, 2024

Ithaca, NY

Dan Konowalow was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Mary and Dimitri Konowalow.  The notorious stock market crash of 1929 forced his family into poor circumstances.  Dan used to joke (half-heartedly) that he only ate meat twice a year—at Christmas and Easter.

He lived in a two-family house on east 126th Street in Cleveland with his grandparents and later his beloved Aunt Holly.  He attended public schools in Cleveland.  Though he was an excellent student and got good grades, he had no expectations of attending College because of his family’s circumstances.  But fortune smiled at him in the guise of his high school biology teacher, Mr. Bopp, who happened to run into Dan in a high school corridor.  He asked Dan where he was going to college, whereupon Dan responded that he wasn’t because his family couldn’t afford it.  Mr. Bopp dragged Dan into his office and started poring over scholarship applications that had not yet expired.  He found one and helped Dan fill out the application.  Fortune smiled again when the student who had been awarded the scholarship declined it and Dan received it, instead.  

Dan started Ohio State University as a dairy technology student—that’s what the scholarship was for.  He supplemented the scholarship by working in the Cleveland steel mills during the summers and at Battelle Institute in Columbus as a lab technician during the school year.  He graduated from OSU in 1947.  He was a member of ROTC as a student at OSU and upon graduation he entered military service at Fort McLellan, AL.  He served there until his discharge from the Army in 1955.  He then attended graduate school at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, graduating with a PhD in Theoretical Chemistry in 1960.  

He worked for a couple of years at DuPont Corp. and again at the University of Wisconsin as Associate Director of the Theoretical Chemistry Institute. In 1965 he began his teaching career at Harpur College of the State University of New York as an Assistant professor.  

That year he met Marcy Rosenkrantz when she was a student in his first Chem  Recitation Section.  Thirteen years later they were married in Binghamton, NY.  That same year Dan began a sabbatical leave at the National Bureau of Standards, where he was a visiting scientist. It was a very productive year for Dan—he published twelve papers.  Upon his return to Binghamton, he was promoted to Professor.  

Dan was a gifted teacher, funny, warm, and enthusiastic.  He expected a lot from his students, but he didn’t demand a lot.  As a result, he was sometimes disappointed in his students.  As Physical Chemistry Professor he developed a reputation as a hard grader. Rumor had it he ate pre-meds for breakfast.  He said they didn’t taste very good.  There were no easy A grades;  his students had to earn them.

He and Marcy remained in Binghamton until 1987 when he was hired as a Contractor at the U.S. Air Force Rocket Propulsion Laboratory.  He was a (real) Rocket Scientist working on novel high energy density materials. He and Marcy spent just over six years in the high desert of California in Lancaster, CA.  When in 1994 Marcy was hired to work at Cornell’s Theory Center, they happily moved to Lansing, NY where there was lots of green and plenty of water—a welcome change from Lancaster, CA where there was little greenery and very little water.

Upon their arrival in Lansing, Dan began his retirement and started looking for land upon which to build a house and perhaps start a plant nursery.  Dan loved gardening, having learned to grow vegetables at his grandfather’s knee.  They found the perfect spot on Algerine Road in Lansing, where they purchased 85 acres of a  bankrupt farm.  Dan soon learned that there were plenty of plant nurseries around, so he turned his attention to growing vinifera grapes, until he discovered the cost.  So, at an age when most men  of sixty-five were planning their retirements, Dan began his last career—Farmer.  

Dan initially planted 4000 feet of raspberries that produced abundantly.  When he found himself with eighteen pints of raspberries, he wondered how he was going to eat them all.  He wasn’t.  He found joy and modest profit in selling his raspberries and other produce to the best restaurants in the area.

After twenty-three years Dan began to find it difficult to climb on and off his tractor.  That’s when he and Marcy sold the house and land and moved to Kendal where they made many friends.  

At the end of March of 2024, Dan and Marcy contracted COVID.  They had easy times of it.  But about two weeks later Dan developed Congestive Heart Failure. He was admitted to the Skilled Nursing Facility at Kendal to receive intensive rehabilitation.  He began Hospice Care a week before his death.  

His one last wish was to visit his beloved farm one last time. He did so with the help of two of Kendal’s staff, Frank and John, and the new owners of the house.  On May 7th they loaded his wheelchair onto one of Kendal’s vans and took off for Algerine Road.  They spent a beautiful afternoon on the deck of their old house, visiting with neighbors and the new owners and overlooking a grand  view of Cayuga.  They watched three deer and two Canada geese playing in the field. They were the bane of Dan’s existence when he farmed the land.  But on that day, they were fun to watch.  On the way home they stopped for ice cream—Dan LOVED ice cream!  The next morning Dan had ice cream for breakfast.  He slept off and on for the next three days, barely conscious for most of the time.  Marcy asked him if he wanted ice cream on Thursday evening during his last few minutes of wakefulness.  He declined the ice cream and died peacefully the following morning.  

Marcy thanks the wonderful staff of the Cayuga Neighborhood at T-House for their devoted and loving care of Dan in his final days.  In lieu of flowers, please consider a gift in Dan’s memory to the Finger Lakes Land Trust, Kendal at Ithaca’s Employee Futures Fund that provides scholarships to employees for further education, or to the charity of your choice.  

A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 p.m. on August 3, 2024, in the auditorium at Kendal at Ithaca, 2230 North Triphammer Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.


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Service Schedule

Upcoming Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, August 3, 2024

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

In the Auditorium at Kendal

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