Avon's David Condit: Scientist, Runner, Volunteer

AVON — David Condit, a scientist at United Technologies Corp. who made advances in fuel cell development and volunteered to restore hurricane-damaged homes on the Gulf Coast, died June 4. He was 66.

Condit was born in Denver in 1948, and graduated from Miami University in Ohio before earning a doctorate in chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He was a longtime UTC employee and retired in 2011 as senior research scientist.

Condit met his wife, Barbara Kream, while working at Olin Corp. in New Haven. At the time, Barbara was pursuing a doctoral degree at Yale University and had plans to pursue her post-doctoral fellowship in Wisconsin. Barbara Condit said the couple were able to maintain a long-distance relationship through letters and phone calls.

"We didn't have the technology back then to keep in touch, but we kept in touch in the traditional way," she said, adding that she still has a box of letters from her husband. "The reason I came back [to Connecticut] was because of the relationship."

The couple married in 1980 and moved to Avon in 1984, where they raised their two children, Julie and Daniel.

Condit coached his son's baseball team and played tennis with his daughter and took her fishing. Barbara said that one of her favorite memories was going to all of the games and watching her husband coach.

"He just had such a strong presence with the kids when they were growing up," she said. "The only time he ever sat still was when he was fishing."

Condit was also was an avid runner and participated in a variety of races, from 5K's to marathons.

Barbara said she was inspired to start running with her husband after watching him compete in the Boston Marathon in 1982.

The couple had a tradition of running in the annual New Haven 20K Road Race for many year. David Condit completed all 36 runs since the race's inception in 1978.

In December 2011, David Condit was diagnosed with brain cancer. Despite the diagnosis, he continued to run and started volunteering at O'Brien School in East Hartford, where he spent 20 hours each week working with third-grade students to help them improve their math skills.

"Even with the cloud of the disease over his head, he was a fighter," his wife said. "And his longevity with the disease was really amazing."

Last year, as the disease was starting to take a toll, so his wife suggested that they train to run the New Haven 20K together.

"We trained for it and it was probably the most fun and most rewarding run I've had — we didn't run our best times, but we were able to cross the finish line together," she said.

Condit was also able to volunteer in Mississippi last year and traveled to Denver to spend time with his family.

"Throughout his life, he always reached out to help people, even in small ways," his wife said. "He really made a difference to a lot of people."