Bob Witmer is Senior Counsel and former partner at Nixon Peabody LLP where he formed and chaired its Environmental Law Department, chaired the firm’s Management Committee and conducted a litigation practice which included the representation of the counties of Madison and Oneida in New York against the land claim of the Oneida Indian Nation.
He was President of the New York State Bar Association in 1994-95, and remains a member of its House of Delegates. He is a Life Member of The American Law Institute and a charter member of the New York State Judicial Institute on Professionalism in the Law, and is a recipient of the Rodenbeck Award from the Monroe County Bar Association. He has served on gubernatorial Judicial Screening Committees appointed by the three past governors of the State; he is Secretary of the Council of Governing Boards and is a Public Trustee of the Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities in New York State.
Bob is a trustee and Chairman Emeritus of The University of Rochester. He is a charter member of The University of Rochester Sports Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the highest award given to its alumni, the Hutchison Medal. He is a Past President of the Board of Trustees of the Eastman Dental Center, and Past President of the Rochester Rotary Club and the Rochester Rotary Charitable Trusts.
Bob and his wife, Nancy who is also a member of the New Horizons Band, are the parents of four adult children: an actuary, two M.D.s and a Phd.
Bob graduated with Honors from the University of Rochester in 1959, and from Harvard Law School in 1962.
George Robert (Bob) Witmer Jr., Esq.
Webster - March 23, 1937 - August 18, 2019. Predeceased by his beloved wife, Nancy; parents, Marian and the Honorable George Robert Witmer Sr.; and sister, Sylvia Bissell (William). Survived by children, Wendy Tobey, FCAS (Dom) of Zurich, Switzerland, Heidi Smith, M.D. (Chris) of Webster, NY, G. Robert Witmer III, M.D. (Char) of Haddonfield, NJ, and Frank Witmer, PhD (Erin) of Anchorage, in whose accomplishments and values he took immense pride; and grandchildren, Oliver Tobey, Colin Smith, Amelia Tobey, Max Tobey, Molly Smith, Rienzi Witmer, Maria Witmer and Taylor Witmer. He is also survived by brothers, John Witmer (Liette) and Thomas Witmer, M.D. (Sandra); sisters-in-law, Marilyn Gordon and Kathy (Tom) Palmer; brother in-law, Richard Wenner; and by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Bob was born and raised in Webster, NY. After graduating as valedictorian from Webster Central School, he attended the University of Rochester (59'), where he excelled both in and out of the classroom. Bob was co-captain of the basketball team, president of his fraternity and a Phi Beta Kappa graduate. Bob went on to follow in his father's footsteps and graduated from Harvard Law School (62'). Upon graduation, Bob returned to the Rochester area to practice law at the then Nixon, Hargrave, Devons & Doyle law firm.
Upon starting his distinguished law career at the firm, Bob initially handled all real estate litigation and then moved on to chair one of the country's first Environmental Law Groups. From 1994 to 1995 he served as the President of the New York State Bar Association. Both Bob and his father were recipients of the Rodenbeck Award from the Monroe County Bar Association.
Bob was deeply committed to community service as highlighted through his work with both the University of Rochester and the Rochester Rotary club. His devotion to the University started in 1955 and never wavered. He joined the Eastman Dental Center Board in 1976 and the University Board of Trustees in 1979. He served as Board chair from 2003 to 2008 and was named Chairman Emeritus in 2008. He received the Hutchison Medal in 2008 and the George Eastman Medal in 2016 in recognition of career achievements and service to the University and Rochester-area communities. The family would like to thank the University for bringing out the best in Bob.
Bob served as both a member and President of the Rochester Rotary. In 2013, Bob received the Rochester Rotary Award, the oldest civic award given in Rochester for those who personify "Service Above Self". He also was involved in local politics and for twenty years chaired the Monroe County Republican Committee that vetted all candidates considered by the Committee for judicial office.
When he wasn't devoting his time to law, the University of Rochester or the general community, he enjoyed spending time in his garden and with his family, be it on ski vacations, camping vacations or family gatherings. He was an active member of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church where he regularly sang in the choir. He shared a love of music with Nancy where together they played in the New Horizons Band. He also was a member of the Webster Masonic Lodge. Above all, Bob will be remembered best for his beaming smile, hearty laugh, and infectious optimism.
The family would like to thank the doctors, nurses and staff of Strong Memorial Hospital and the Wilmot Cancer Center for the medical care and support that Bob received over the past years.
Friends may call Friday, 2-4, 6-8 PM at Anthony Funeral Chapel (1031 Ridge Rd., Webster). A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, 1 PM, at the Interfaith Chapel located on the University of Rochester River Campus (1045 Wilson Blvd., Rochester, NY). Interment at Webster Union Cemetery. Contributions in memory of Bob may be directed to Betsy Henner, Office of Gift and Donor Records, University of Rochester, 300 East River Road, Box 270032, Rochester, NY 14627 or Rochester Rotary Charitable Trust, 180 Linden Oaks, Ste. 200, Rochester, NY 14625. To share a memory of Bob or send a condolence to the family visit www.anthonychapels.com.
Published in Rochester Democrat And Chronicle from Aug. 21 to Aug. 22, 2019