The David Michael Bethune Memorial Fund

$12,140 of $13k goal

Raised by 171 people in 57 months
Mary Colleen McNally  NEWARK, NJ

On Tuesday, September 4, 2012, Our beloved former CEO of Continental Airlines, Gordon Bethune, lost his younger brother, David Michael Bethune, in a tragic accident in Oolagah, Oklahoma.  

David was attempting to tow a disabled vehicle in a ditch on his property. The accident report said Bethune parked his Jeep, which was idling on a steep incline, near the disabled car.  At some point, Bethune walked behind the Jeep and it rolled backwards, striking him, before rolling off a cliff and stopping about 120 feet away, near the water's edge.  He died at the scene from massive injuries.

Great thought was given as to how best memorialize the brother Gordon loved so much while also showing our support of our former CEO through this very difficult time. 

As many of you know, Gordon loves New York's Central Park. We came up with this idea that if we adopted a bench in David Bethune's memory then not only are we all helping to maintain one of the over 9,000 benches that you find throughout Central Park but we are also providing a special memorial where Gordon could visit when he is at his apartment in NYC. In addition it gives us all a special bench to visit while we spend time enjoying all of the beauty and activities that Central Park has to offer.

The Adopt-A-Bench program was established in 1986 as a permanent fund to maintain and endow the care of Central Park's more than 9,000 benches and their surrounding landscapes. To date, more than 2,000 benches have been adopted.

In recognition of contributions to the fund, the Conservancy installs a plaque engraved with a personalized inscription memorializing David Michael Bethune at the location and the bench of Gordon's choosing.

When you choose to participate in the Adopt-A-Bench program, your philanthropic contribution makes you a partner in the ongoing work to sustain America's first and greatest urban park.

A portion of these funds ($280) will be utilized towards flowers for the memorial service which is being held on September 8, 2012.

Please help us make this memorial to David Bethune a reality by donating.  

Anything over an above will be donated to Wings4Kids in David's memory.

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Update 13
48 months ago

Today is October 31, 2012

Due to the devastation in NYC and NJ, we have decided to postpone The David Bethune Bench Memorial until Spring.

With transportation being questionable and out of respect for those who are affected by the hurricane we will plan this for sometime in Spring. We will set a date well in advance so everyone can plan to take the day off. Sometime after the 1st of the year, I will email each of you with the new date which I would anticipate would be either in April or May.

In the meantime should your travels take you to Central Park please visit the bench which is located up at Summit Rock. The bench # is 05422. Please document your time spent on the bench by sending photos to Gordon via Facebook.

And finally, this afternoon I will be making a one time donation with all remaining funds to
"Kids Meals" which is the organization that provides meals to preschool children living in poverty. The amount raised for this organization was $3302.50. The Flight Attendant volunteers from "Wings for Kids" will make a more formal presentation "In Memory of David Bethune" at the Harvest Luncheon on November 7th in Houston.

I want to thank everyone who donated or sent in messages of support to Gordon. I look forward to seeing you in the Spring.

Until then...Be well...
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Update 12
48 months ago

Today is October 23, 2012

The "Bench Dedication" will be held November 11, 2012 from 3pm to 6pm. Those who have donated are invited to join us at Gordon Bethune's NYC apartment located on Central Park West. We will begin with cocktails and live acoustical music. Just before sunset we will walk across the street to the park for a low key dedication. Following the dedication we will walk back to the apartment for a final nightcap.

Please email or text me with your RSVP before November 1, 2012. At that time I will give you further instructions on the location of his apartment.

My personal email address is Please indicate in the subject line "I'll be there!" so I do not delete your message.

You can also text me at (732) 801-3839 but please include your name and the message "I'll be there!"

I will then forward Gordon's address and further details.

Thank you again for your donations. We are looking forward to seeing you there.

*Casual Attire*

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Update 11
48 months ago

Today is October 18th, 2012
The Bench is In!

Thank you to all who helped see this come to fruition! I know Gordon spent time in Central Park today enjoying the bench and reflecting on his brother's life. This warms all of our hearts.

There is still time to donate for the second part of this fund raiser, "Kids Meals". This, too, is in honor of David Bethune.

For all who donate you will receive an email invitation to the casual memorial we are planning for November 11th in Central Park. The details are being worked out over the next week and we will send out final instructions around November 1st.

Thank you again for being such a huge part of such a fitting tribute.
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Update 10
48 months ago

Today is October 16th.

Nothing new to report other than we are shy of our goal for our second phase of this fund raiser. Remember that all of the remaining proceeds go to "Kids Meals" and a check will be presented on November 7th to this organization. We have 2 more weeks before this officially comes to a close.

Please donate and help us meet our goal.
Thank you to everyone who reached out and donated.
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 107 total shares
Robert Eick Jr.
49 months ago

still short come on all you ex-cons Gordon supported us,time to reciprocate a little bit!

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$12,140 of $13k goal

Raised by 171 people in 57 months
Created February 14, 2012
Mary Colleen McNally  
Ronald Rayle
45 months ago

Sad to hear this tragic news Capt Ron rayle piedmont/usair retired

Irene Carle
48 months ago


Kimberly Farnor
48 months ago

"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."

Leah Fuller
48 months ago

From Leah Fuller and Alex DelRosario

Gigi Evangelista-Givens
48 months ago

Hello Gordon, I am sure that David will be so glad to see that through people's respect and love for you, his name will be honored. So sorry for your loss. You are in my prayers.

Amy McGovern and Frank Rossi
48 months ago

In memory of our best bosses loving brother.

Traci Blanton
48 months ago
48 months ago
Heidi Wright
49 months ago (Offline Donation)

Dear Gordon; I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that my thoughts are with you and your family.

Mrs T Hernandez
49 months ago

Only faith in a life after death, in a brighter world where dear ones will meet again - only that and the measured tramp of time - can give consolation. - Sir Winston Churchill My condolences on the loss of your brother.

Robert Eick Jr.
49 months ago

still short come on all you ex-cons Gordon supported us,time to reciprocate a little bit!

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