John L. Bingham

September 19, 1919May 2, 2013

BINGHAM, John L.VU Professor Emeritus Dies. Born Sept. 19, 1919 in Pineville, KY to John Matt and Myrtle Sarah Bingham who predeceased him, died May 2nd. Mr. Bingham graduated from East High School in 1936 where he was honored in 1960 as Alumnus of the year. He earned his B.A. and M.A. degrees (Phi Beta Kappa) in Romance Languages at Vanderbilt University during which time he was awarded the Taft Teaching Scholarship in Romance Languages at the University of Cincinnati. WWII interrupted his educational endeavors, when he was drafted into the Army (Signal Corps) serving 1942-46. He was deployed to the South Pacific, rank of Sgt., then to North Pacific as an officer, rank of 1st Lieutenant. After the war, he went to UCLA as a teaching assistant of Romance Languages and as a Ph.D. candidate. As part of his work there, he prepared a lengthy analysis of a major work of 19th century Spanish fiction and was awarded Del Amo Scholar at U. of Madrid, summer of 1949. In 1950, he returned to Vanderbilt where he spent the next 40 years as Professor, Administrator (25 years as Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Science while continuing to teach) and leader on a wide range of committees. Among his many achievements, he served as Director of Summer School at Instituto Technologico, Monterrey, Mexico; Director, Vanderbilt-in-Spain, summer, 1977; Director of Foreign Programs (18 yrs.); Dir. of Undergraduate Studies, Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese (17 yrs.), numerous leadership positions in Phi Beta Kappa Society and several other societies as well. During his years in the Dean's office, he advised hundreds of students and parents on academic and personal matters and was a productive liaison between the faculty and administration. He was honored with the Chancellor's Cup in 1982 for outstanding service to students outside the classroom, the Round Table (Peabody) for major influence on a student's life, and the Edgar A. Jones Faculty Advisor Award. Through his extraordinary gift of teaching, he was instrumental in the spectacular growth of undergraduate majors in Spanish & Portuguese. He co-authored with Monica Morley a grammatical guide of the Spanish language for students and teachers, and prepared for publication a paper for the Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference. He has been lauded for his pioneering efforts in the University's programs of study abroad, and described as a stalwart citizen of the University. His devotion to his students is surpassed only by his love for his family, which has benefited greatly from his example, counsel and generosity. At his retirement in 1986 he was awarded title of Professor Emeritus of Spanish. After his official retirement, he continued to teach in the Freshman Honors Program for 4 years. He later tutored high school students in Spanish and Latin. He enjoyed working at his computer where he learned to play chess online, competing with other chess players, and where he wrote his memoirs --a cherished treasure for his family. He was a devout catholic and parishioner at St. Henry's Church. After moving to Mary Queen of Angels assisted living in 2008, he continued attending Mass there regularly. The eldest of six children, he was the beloved Patriarch, whose intelligence and wealth of knowledge were constantly being tapped. Mr. Bingham was also predeceased by brothers, Charles Beverly Bingham (WWII casualty), Billy Ray Bingham; sister Myrna Kintgen Stone; nephews John Roy Kintgen, and Paul Kintgen. He is survived by brother Stanley (Mary) Bingham, N. Palm Beach Fl; sister Gwen Gibson, Hendersonville, TN; nephews Michael Bingham, N. Palm Beach, Fl; Earl Kintgen, Jr. (Anna), Fresno, CA; Stephen Kintgen, Milaca, MN; Mark (Stephanie) Gibson, Hendersonville, TN; Keith (Melinda) Gibson, Huntsville, Al; nieces Elaine (John) Nivens, Germantown, TN; Beverly Bingham, N. Palm Beach, Fl; Lynn (Don) Stafford, Collierville, TN; Pam (Tom) Morris, Coarsegold, CA; Teri Bingham, Santa Barbara, CA; Lisa (Dan) Palmer, Nashville TN; and many great and great-great nieces and nephews. Visitation will be Tuesday, May 7th, 5 to 7 p.m. at Marshall, Donnelly & Combs with rosary at 7. Funeral Mass will be held at St. Henry's Church on Harding Road, May 8th, 11 a.m. with visitation one hour prior. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery. Thanks and appreciation to the kind and caring staff at Mary Queen of Angels as well as Life Care Center of Old Hickory Village where he left this world to be with his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. The world he left is a much better place because of his life.


  • Visitation Tuesday, May 7, 2013
  • Funeral Service Wednesday, May 8, 2013

John L. Bingham

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May 5, 2014

Dear Bingham family, I am sorry for your loss. Although its been sometime the absence of your loved one can still be great. May you all find comfort by drawing close to God. During this moment of reflection. James 4:8

Monica and Sam Morley

May 8, 2013

It was with great sadness that we received the news of John's passing. Both Sam and I have great memories from our time at Vanderbilt. John and I worked together in the Spanish Department for 8 years. He was always a gentleman and always willing to give his time to all who came to ask for assistance. He and I team-taught, co-authored a Grammar Mannual and shared many teaching strategies for making learning more accessible and pleasurable for the students. He was also interested in new technologies as an aproach to language learning. He was way ahead of the rest of the faculty in learning to use a computer.
May he rest in peace.
Sam and Monica Morley

Larry Hall

May 6, 2013

I'll always remember the good cheer and interest that John carried to the Dean's office. He also loved to explain Spanish phrases to us.

Roger Schurig

May 6, 2013

I feel blessed to have known John for over 50 years. He was one of the warmest and kindest people I have ever met and beloved by so many. He was a wonderful man and such a terrific friend and counselor to so many Vandy students. I was lucky enough to have been a beneficiary of so much of his time and advice. Without his largess I doubt I would have earned my degree from VU and his guidance and support were factors important to my business career. I would bet there has never been an educator at VU who Truly Cared about every student he taught or counseled like John. He was one special and remarkable man and I will always remember his smiling face and that hearty laugh. People always left his presence feeling better than when they arrived.
My sympathies to all of John's family but take heart in that you now have a Super Angel watching over you from above. Rest in peace my friend.

Elizabeth Phillips

May 6, 2013

John was a good friend to my family and my godfather. I have such fond memories of him spending time with us at Vanderbilt and our home when I was a child. He was a wonderful man and we were so lucky to have known him.
The Carl R. Phillips family.

Dietary. of Life Care Center of Old Hickory Village

May 6, 2013

Our hearts prayers and sympathy go out to Mr. Bingham's family. We all loved him dearly and he will be greatly missed.

Beverly Kline

May 5, 2013

I'm so sorry to hear of Mr Bingham's passing. I often saw him in the dining room at The Life Care Center in Old Hickory..RIP. Beverly Kline

Philip Rasico

May 5, 2013

John Bingham was a wonderful individual, educator and administrator. I had the privilege of teaching with him for a number of years at Vanderbilt in the Dept. of Spanish & Portuguese, and he was simply the best. After his retirement we occasionally would meet for lunch just to talk and keep up with each other. He was writing his memoirs at that time and I was fortunate to be asked to look over some of the early sections of that work. John was a dear soul and lived a very full life filled with giving to others. His kind is indeed rare. Although he will be missed, he will be fondly remembered by his former students, his colleagues and his friends.

May 5, 2013

Remembering fond memories of Dean Bingham at VU. His passing is a great loss to this old world; we need more like him. May he rest in peace...
+ Linda Lancaster Norfleet