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.