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Desert nesting bald eagle

The Arizona Daily Star, September 4, 2014

Robert Allen Witzeman

Robert Allen Witzeman 87, of Phoenix, Arizona passed away on August 30, 2014. Bob was born May 7, 1927 in Akron, Ohio, where he grew up. He served in the Navy in 1945, graduated from Oberlin College in 1950, and Case Western Reserve Medical School in 1954. He moved to Phoenix in 1958 and practiced medicine as an anesthesiologist for 30 years. During his career and retirement he devoted his life to conservation. While serving as president and conservation chairman for the Maricopa Audubon Society, he was involved in saving the desert nesting bald eagle and the Fort McDowell Yavapai and Apache Indian land by helping to defeat the proposed Orme and Cliff Dams; and later in saving the endangered Red Squirrel and sacred Apache Indian sites on Mount Graham; and in saving important habitat and a sacred Apache Indian site at Oak Flat from a destructive copper mine. He was an active birdwatcher who travelled widely throughout the world in search of birds and wildlife. Bob enjoyed photographing birds, butterflies, and dragonflies, and photographed several first state records of birds for Arizona. He is survived by his wife of almost 60 years, Janet; daughter, Karen and husband, Jack Rigney; son, Jeff and his wife, Kerry; his five grandchildren, Claire Rigney, Elaine Rigney, Michael Rigney, Connor Witzeman and Haley Witzeman, as well as three sisters, Mary Reinthal, Cile Rice and Alice Edwards and husband, Rich Edwards. A Celebration of life Service will be held in late December. Memorial donations may be made to the Maricopa Audubon Society, c/o Matt VanWallene, Treasurer, 11004 E. Villa Park St., Chandler, AZ, 85248 or to the Center for Biological Diversity, P.O. Box 710, Tucson, AZ 85702-0710, or to the Grand Canyon Chapter of the Sierra Club, 202 E. McDowell Rd., Suite 277, Phoenix, AZ 85004. Arrangements by WHITNEY & MURPHY.

© 2014 Arizona Daily Star.

This article originally appeared here.

Photo © Paul S. Hamilton