Dr. William D. Litzinger
February 17, 1928 – April 4, 2013
Ye Ole Professor, our dad, Dr. Litz, has finished his tenure here on earth and gone to join “St. Janet”, his bride of over 50 years. Dad’s vocation in and out of the classroom was all about teaching: “If you don’t fall, you weren’t trying.” “Many hands make light work.” “Life’s a quiz, it’s all about how you answer the questions.” And perhaps unrelated…”Got some chocolate or ice cream to go with that?”
Dad always emphasized the value of a strong work ethic. His teaching also extended to the education of his family, exploring our National Parks and Mission Trails in our family station wagon during summer road trips.
Dad described himself as “just a tugboat, putting the big ships out to sea.” Through the years and from the back row, he gratefully shared victories of his students - especially the first generation graduates- as well as the young faculty members he recruited, mentored, and helped advance to the next level.
Dad was born and raised in the tiny town of Patton, Pennsylvania in the heart of coal mining country during The Depression. He proudly served in the Air Force from 1946 to 1950, which funded his undergraduate education at NYU via the GI Bill. After earning an Ivy League MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, he earned his PhD in Business Administration at USC, and then began his teaching sojourn. The family trekked from coast to coast numerous times as he rose up the academic ladder, first purely teaching, and then adding administrative duties, ultimately becoming a Business School Dean. The classic ceramic mugs from each of his affiliated universities were prominently displayed in our living room- always the first decoration packed and unpacked with each move: California State LA, Fresno State (2 stints), Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, University of Rhode Island, University of San Francisco (2 stints) in the turbulent 1960’s at the time of the Free Speech Movement, Creighton, UTSA, C. W. Post University on Long Island NY, and Rutgers. During the summer of 1969 and the first moon landing, he was a faculty fellow for the Johnson Space Center at NASA in Houston. He taught summer (not winter!) school on two occasions at the University of Alaska (in Anchorage and Kodiak Island), in addition to an MBA class at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Sadly, after watching our mom battle Alzheimer’s, Dad was to follow a similarly challenging fight with Parkinson’s disease. Always one to “read a new page” and try new things, his treatment included nothing short of- well, yes, it was- “brain surgery”, and his deep brain stimulator likely provided (or at least enhanced) many extra years of bike rides, golf games, political discussions (always in favor of the Democrats and the ‘little guy’) and of course, his sports enthusiasm- primarily college football and basketball, overlaid with the professional golf tournaments. Decades before “picture in picture” and NFL Game Mix, Dad stacked two and three TV sets together to capture all the channels at once. Another lifelong pleasure shared first with his kids, then his grandchildren, was the simple joy of umbrella-sheltered walks in the rain, always accompanied by racing floating popsicle sticks along the curb.
Dad- aka. Dr. Litz, Grandpap, Grandpa Bill- will be greatly missed by his family and friends. The good news is that Dad has promised to tap in any golf shots that we manage to hit really close to the pin…
A Memorial Mass will be conducted at ten o’clock in the morning on Monday, the 8th of April, at St. Theresa Catholic Church, 4311 Small Dr., Austin, TX 78731 with The Most High Reverend John McCarthy, Bishop, Catholic Diocese of Austin, officiating. In honoring and in reflecting of our Dad’s passion for higher education, and collegiate sports, we are asking people to consider wearing college-themed attire rather than traditional funeral attire.
In Lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the Parkinson’s disease foundation, or AVID: Decades of College Dreams.
Condolences may be sent to www.cookwaldenfuneralhome.com.
- Memorial Mass Monday, April 8, 2013
Dr. William D. Litzinger
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August 12, 2013
Hi my name is John Litzinger my father is John or Jack Litzinger from Patton Pa and he is the godfather of Bill's son John. I think I met the family a few times my dad says jokingly we are 33rd cousins I wanted to let you know we only met a few times but I proudly took ownership of Bills' accomplishments and that of his children as well. I called my father today and let him know the news and he told me stories of Bill and what he had done for my dad and I wanted to let you know that Bill meant a lot to my dad
John Litzinger ( Bakersfield, CA)
April 22, 2013
I first met Dr. Bill in 1948 while we played basketball on the 343rd Bomb Sqdn. team in Spokane, Washington. We were friends ever since. My wife enjoyed her first meeting when we attended St. Patricks Cathedral in NY City in 1953 with Bill. We were fortunate to stop in Austin on our trip around the USA in 1995 and enjoyed time with Janet and Bill. My last visit was to play golf when another friend and I flew to Austin for a week in January of 2009 just before a birthday.
God Bless Bill's wonderful family and I only wish I could have been there in Austin for the Memorial Service.
Bob Stauffer in Naugatuck, Connecticut
April 17, 2013
Dr. Litzinger was a mentor and role model to many at UTSA. His contributions and legacy will live on at UTSA. I was one of his many students who appreciated his leadership.
April 12, 2013
The first time I met my Uncle Bill was at my Aunt Janet's Memorial...When I told him I attending college he told me to "attended for as long as I wanted to he did" Becky
April 12, 2013
Dear Family: Litz didn't have to work hard to convince me to leave California to return home to Texas… and UTSA in 1981. I will never forget his hook…it will be just like Berkeley and UCLA. And we will be little tugboats putting the big ships out to sea.
Of course, UTSA hasn't arrived yet…but we do have football, and A&M has gone to the SEC. As for Litz…well, now the “little tugboat” has a much bigger ocean to watch over.
Woodie, debi and Mikel T
April 8, 2013
I first met Bill when he hired me at the University of Rhode Island in 1969 and then left before I got there. Then in 1973 he hired me at UTSA where we worked together until he retired. Always a friend and always supportive whether we agreed on not. He will be missed but the Litz stories will go on forever.
April 8, 2013
I first met Bill in the Chicago airport in the spring of 1975. I was finishing my doctoral work at Michigan State and this new university was being established in San Antonio. At one point in the job interview, Bill excused himself, went to the phone and made a call. I could hear him say that ‘this one sounds like a keeper.” That began a 10 year relationship with Bill. I came to UTSA and Bill was an important mentor in my life. I published my first paper with Bill. Both Elaine and I remember many gatherings at Bill's and Janet's house in Hollywood Park over the subsequent years. After ten years, I left UTSA to be dean of business at the University of Dayton. Bill and Janet visited once and I was able to share my new university with them. Bill was very important in my life, as he was in so many others. All of you who loved him so deeply can be at peace knowing that Bill touched so many, so deeply, and set a mark that we all should strive to achieve.
Sam & Elaine Gould